Politics

The Nevada Caucus Was A Nightmare

CREDIT: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

A precinct captain argues his position during a Democratic caucus at the University of Nevada Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Reno, Nev.

Hillary Clinton won Saturday’s Nevada caucus, but even those working on her behalf think the process voters had to endure to make their voices heard was nightmarish.

“We were completely overwhelmed, we had like 500 people at our caucus site,” Clinton campaign precinct captain Esther Gulli told ThinkProgress. “There were no instruction. It was total chaos. I saw people give up and leave because they had to go to work and it was taking so long. The fact that they do a caucus on a day most people here are working is really bad.”

Another Clinton precinct captain said the process was equally dysfunctional in Henderson, Nevada.

“There were hundreds of people in line at 12 p.m., so they closed the line,” Clinton precinct captain Allison Green told us. “People who made it in were put in a tiny room with no air, and everyone was dying. We waited for almost an hour for the Democratic Party chair to show up.”

Green said she has a 91-year-old aunt who couldn’t vote, because her walker and oxygen tank made it impossible to partake in the process.

“It’s a very discriminatory system,” she added. “When I was going door to door this week, there were people telling me they had to babysit their grandchildren, or had to work, or were too sick. In another state they could have sent in an absentee ballot. It’s not fair.”

Earlier in the day, ThinkProgress spoke with Las Vegas workers who wanted to participate in the caucus but couldn’t because they had to work.

Meanwhile, some Nevadans who were actually able to attend the caucus had their delegates decided by a game of War:

Similar gridlocks in the Iowa caucuses were decided by coin tosses.

Nevada adopted the caucus system in 2008. Last year, the state legislature considered a bill to restore primary elections but didn’t take action.

Green said she thinks Saturday made clear that the state needs to make changes.

“The caucus system is very broken, as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “Either the state has to cough up more money to hire more people to run it, or they have to change the law.”

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