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November 23, 2014

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Caucus 101

Nevada’s Democratic and Republican parties will hold presidential selection contests Saturday to help determine the candidates. Although Nevada has had caucuses before, this is the first time they matter, because they were moved to earlier in the election calendar.

Because they are caucuses and not primaries, the process is different from the way most Nevadans have voted in the past. There are no absentee ballots and no early voting at malls and supermarkets. You have to show up at a certain time and place on Saturday to pick your candidate.

Democrats

Doors open at 11 a.m. — Anyone, even those who are not registered to vote, can show up at the Democratic caucus sites. You’ll be able to register as a Democrat at your caucus site if you’re not already one.

Find the nearest Democratic Caucus Site

  • Democrats will arrive at 520 sites, mostly schools, churches and community centers. The caucuses begin at 11:30 a.m.

  • The caucus will begin and the voters break into groups for each candidate.

  • If the candidate group does not meet the threshold to win at least one delegate, voters can break off and join other groups.

  • Passionate supporters can try to persuade others to join them, but if you’re shy, don’t worry. You won’t have to speak if you don’t want to.

  • Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Searer predicted the Democratic caucuses would take one to two hours.

Republicans

Doors open at 9 a.m. Only those who are already registered as Republicans can participate in those contests.

Find the nearest Republican Caucus Site

  • Registration begins at 9 a.m. Only those who had registered by a Republican by Dec. 20 can participate.

  • There will be 100 sites, including 31 in Clark County.

  • It’s different from the Democratic contest in that your vote will be secret.

  • First, people will select delegates and alternates to conventions using paper ballots.

  • After the delegates are picked, voters are encouraged to vote in a straw poll, using voting machines..

  • It is likely to take 30 to 45 minutes.

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