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Here's Nevada's Plan to Save Its Caucus From Catastrophe

Nevada has been scrambling to put together a new plan ever since it dumped the app that blew up the Iowa caucus.

by Cameron Joseph
Feb 13 2020, 8:41pm

LAS VEGAS — After a week-and-a-half scramble, the Nevada Democratic Party has released more details on how it plans to conduct its caucuses — and try to avoid repeating Iowa’s caucus catastrophe.

The memo comes 10 days after the state party announced it would not use the app developed by Shadow Inc., which failed on Iowa's election night Feb. 3 and left that state's Democratic officials unable to provide vote and delegate counts for days. That’s left Nevada recalibrating to come up with a replacement plan for what might be the most complicated statewide caucus ever attempted.

For the first time, Nevada is allowing early voting in its caucus, and like Iowa it will attempt to report three different sets of numbers instead of all on election day.

The updated plan comes in a memo shared by the presidential campaigns Thursday morning, just two days before early voting is set to begin in the state and just over a week before the Feb. 22 caucuses.

That memo, obtained by VICE News, lays out a bullet-pointed overview of how the party plans to incorporate early votes into the caucus sites on the actual election day, provides a little more detail on how the votes will be reported in from the precincts, and attempts to address ongoing concerns about security.

READ: Harry Reid: It's time to kill off the Iowa caucus

“We understand just how important it is that we get this right and protect the integrity of Nevadans’ votes. We are confident in our backup plans and redundancies,” Nevada Democratic Party Executive Director Alana Mounce said in the memo.

The party is arguably the best-run in the country — the main reason Democrats aren’t in full-out panic mode right now about an Iowa repeat. But party staff are working around the clock right now to try to come up with a new plan. And while sources with multiple presidential campaigns say that the memo is better than nothing, it still leaves multiple crucial questions unanswered.

“It gives us a little bit more clarity on caucus day— but leaves a lot of other open-ended questions,” said a source on the Nevada team of one presidential campaign. “From our view, it’s pretty much more of the same, and it seems like it’s going to be a very complicated process.”

The memo offers more information on how it plans to use what it’s steadfastly refusing to call an app to relay early voting information to precinct captains on election day and turn them back to the parties.

READ: Nevada is now do or die for Joe Biden

Early vote totals will be entered into a Google form that can then be accessed by a “caucus calculator” on iPads which the party plans to distribute to precinct chairs at the 1,700 caucus sites. If that fails, they’ll also receive paper backups with the early vote total and have a hotline to call in results that the party insists will be secure (and avoid having the meltdown that Iowa experienced from security issues and too few people manning the phones).

Cover: U.S. Senator and presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders seen speaking during the campaign rally in Henderson. (Photo by Ronen Tivony / SOPA Images/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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