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November 14, 2018

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Nevada GOP says reports of problems during caucus don’t warrant action

Image

Steve Marcus

Republican voters are shown in line at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, at Western High School, a caucus site.

Nevada Republican Party officials say they're not planning to take action on reports of disorganization, procedural irregularities and other problems stemming from Tuesday's GOP caucuses.

News media and social media buzzed Tuesday with accounts of long lines at caucus sites, inadequate supplies of ballots at some locations, double-counting of votes, failure to check IDs and volunteers wearing clothing promoting individual candidates.

In response, the state GOP said Wednesday it had looked into the concerns but didn't feel follow-up action was justified. Amid heavier-than-expected turnout, they said, caucus volunteers and party organizers did an admirable job of following rules and keeping the process moving. The caucus drew more than 75,000 participants, more than double the 33,000 who turned out in 2012.

Republican Caucus at Western High School

Volunteer Calvin Border counts ballots Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, at the Western High School Republican caucus site. Launch slideshow »

The party said it was confident that the results weren't tainted.

"The state party was able to report 100 percent of the results within hours of the caucusing," said Sara Sendek, RNC Communications Director for Nevada. "Comparatively speaking, the Democrats took two days to report their Nevada results."

Democrats caucused Saturday in Nevada, with Hillary Clinton defeating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by nearly 5 points in the outcome. Long lines and procedural problems also were reported in the Democratic caucus — which the Nevada GOP pointed out Tuesday night amid news about glitches in its event.

Among the reports from Tuesday:

• One caucusing site, at Coronado High School, officially ran out of ballots just after 8 p.m., according to volunteers at the site, sparking a late-night ballot delivery from the county party.

"I think its deplorable," said Ellie Reichel, a precinct captain. "Who is running the show?"

• Earlier in the night, tensions ran high at Valley High School, where several caucusgoers voiced frustration for not being able to engage in conversations about the candidates before voting. They said they were instructed to vote upon arrival.

"I was on the fence between two candidates," said Cheri Rasmussen, a caucus-goer at the central valley school. "If we had caucused first, I could have made more of an intelligent decision."

Instead, Rasmussen said she was told to vote first amid all the confusion.

• Another caucus-goer, Timothy Miller, summed up his experience this way: "It's time for a primary."

As similar reports escalated, the Nevada GOP used its Twitter feed to address them. The party tweeted that there had been no reports of voting irregularities or violations, and later issued a tweet saying it was not against the rules for site volunteers to wear clothing bearing the names of individual candidates.

The caucus ended with front-runner Donald Trump scoring an avalanche victory, garnering 46 percent of the vote. Florida Sen. Rubio was second at 24 percent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in third at 21 percent. Dr. Ben Carson received 5 percent of the vote, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich took 4 percent.

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