Early Caucus Voting Appears To Boost Turnout In Nevada

Feb 19, 2020

Update 9:45 a.m. PST: According to the state Democratic Party, more than 70,000 Nevadans took part in the early caucus voting period from Saturday through Tuesday.

The first wave of Democratic voters are casting their ballots in Nevada’s early caucuses, and the process looks different than in years past.

Aiming to boost turnout, Nevada Democrats instituted a four-day early voting period for the first time this year. It appears to be working. According to the state Democratic Party, more than 36,000 Nevadans took part in early caucus voting over the long weekend, and more than half of Saturday’s 18,000 voters were first-time participants.

After issues with the app used in the Iowa Caucus, party officials in Nevada scrapped plans to use the same one. Instead, voters check in digitally on an iPad and then fill out a paper ballot. Those ballots will then go into their respective precincts and be added into Saturday’s caucus results.

At a polling place on the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Nevada voter Tracy Dupree said he supports the changes.

“I wish we had paper ballots on everything,” Dupree said. “Paper ballots have always worked since the 1700s in this country. We need to look at that again.”

But others see potential for errors with paper ballots, too.

“I actually would have preferred a digital process,” said Nevada voter Jessica Shanks. “I think filling out a paper form with ink pen that can’t even be counted electronically is a little concerning. So, they’re going to be hand counting the votes.”

The latest poll from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and AARP indicates that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading in Nevada, with 25% of likely caucus-goers supporting the Independent.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center For the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.