in Nevada, the fight for second place continues

A supporter of candidate Pete Buttigieg in the Democratic primaries, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 22.
A supporter of candidate Pete Buttigieg in the Democratic primaries, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 22. DAVID RYDER / REUTERS

A few hours after the Nevada caucuses ended on Saturday, February 22, Pete Buttigieg had already set sail for the next stage: Denver, Colorado. The State of the Rockies is one of fourteen Democrats to vote on March 3 on their primary candidate, and one whose demographics may be most favorable to it.

Also read: American primaries, instructions for use and White House race schedule

In front of a forest of "Pete 2020" signs, the former mayor of South Bend (Indiana) soberly commented on the results – still partial – of Nevada. "We had a good day", he said, although he failed to win the minority vote (he was only credited with a score of 2% among blacks and 10% among Latinos).

At the same time, his deputy campaign manager, Hari Sevugan, circulated a letter to the president of the Nevada Democratic Party contesting second place attributed, according to partial results, to former vice president Joe Biden. "Our data shows that second place is on the razor's edge, writes the manager. As a result of irregularities and a number of unresolved issues, what the end result will be has not been established. "

Bernie Sanders' final victory on Saturday evening overshadowed the other highlight of the Nevada consultation: once again, the caucus system has proven its complexity. Twenty-four hours after the end of the vote, the final results had not yet been published, while the number of voters did not exceed 120,000 people – admittedly a participation record but the equivalent of a small town. Halfway through the count, the independent senator from Vermont was credited with 46.6%; Joe Biden, 19.3% and Pete Buttigieg, 15.4%.

Also read: Bernie Sanders Strengthens Favorite Position in Nevada

Mixed caucus and early voting

Nevada had, it is true, chosen a system that was a gamble: mixing caucuses – which require the physical presence of all voters at the same time – and advance voting. A decision to increase participation and diversify the electorate. For four days, voters were able to go to the polling stations at their convenience. They were, however, to bear not their name on their ballot, but their top three choices.

Problem: how to postpone these votes? The party was supposed to communicate the anticipated results to each polling station. The assessors should then include them in real time in the conduct of the caucus – which provides that voters whose candidate does not total 15% must refer to another candidate (the " realignment "). As the party was overwhelmed by the influx of advance votes (over 70,000), it was unable to report all of the results on time. And all the assessors did not have the same reading of how to realign the second and third choice of advance votes …


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