Buttigieg says Nevada’s RCV-style caucus plagued with errors, anomalies

Pete Buttigieg speaks in a gymnasium with a Presidential-election themed scoreboard in the background. Photo courtesy Buttigieg for President Facebook page.

NEVADA – Politico is reporting that Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is demanding answers in light of what his campaign says are irregularities in the Nevada Democratic caucus results. The Nevada Democratic caucus is similar in format to the Iowa Democratic caucus or Maine’s ‘ranked-choice voting.’ Instead of calling additional round of voting a “round” as election officials do under RCV, the second round of voting is called an “alignment.”

Buttigieg, the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is alleging that there are problems with the Nevada results. The Buttigieg campaign made the request to the Chair of the Nevada Democratic Party in a letter.

The letter requests the Nevada Democratic Party take three steps:

(1) Release early vote and in-person vote totals by precinct;

(2) Correct any outstanding early vote and second alignment errors identified by presidential campaigns, including ours;

 (3) Explain anomalies in the data.

The allegations of inconsistencies, whether alignment errors or anomalies, follows a debacle in the Iowa caucus, where the state party botched the caucus process so badly that the results were not known for days and are still questioned in some corners.

Detailing their concerns with the Nevada caucus results, the Buttigieg campaign alleges that the process used to integrate Nevada’s early vote results into the in-person results was “plagued with errors and inconsistencies” and informing the Nevada Democratic Party that the campaign received “more than 200” incident reports. Many of those reports, the campaign says, were related to the early vote results. The campaign also says the early vote data was not delivered or was delivered late, which may have affected the “viability” calculation for the second alignment, or round of voting.

Regarding the second issue raised by the Buttigieg campaign, they say that during the course of the day they exchanged more than three-dozen emails with the Nevada Democratic Party related to improper RCV-style processes being used at caucus precincts. The Buttigieg campaign alleges that improper handling of the “alignments” related to viability of candidates may have led to incorrect results. One of those incidents, they say, occurred on live TV.

The third issue is more related to the general reporting of data, including at least one report the campaign says it received where all the early votes in a precinct were given to one candidate, although other viable candidates received early votes.

In Nevada, Buttigieg placed third, closely behind former Vice President Joe Biden in second. Both placed far behind Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders took a strong lead early in the Saturday caucus, the third contest among the large field of Democrats, and never looked back. The media, equipped with entrance polling and some results, was able to safely call the race for Sanders, unlike in Iowa.

Despite Sanders win, with the fractured Democrat field fighting for every delegate they can scrape together, it’s no surprise that Buttigieg would seize on such inconsistencies to try and control the narrative. Biden, who edged Buttigieg out in Nevada in a last-ditch effort to maintain something resembling momentum after poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, needed to show strength in Nevada before heading into South Carolina.

In South Carolina, Biden hopes to win his first state ever in a Presidential election.

According to the CNN election dashboard, the current results of the Nevada caucus show Sanders at about 46.6% and claiming 13 of the state’s delegates. Biden is listed at second place with 19.2%, resulting in him winning 2 delegates, and Buttigieg in third place, with 15.4% and 1 delegate.

That data shows 50% of Nevada precincts reporting.

The allegations from the Buttigieg campaign will do nothing to quiet critics of the caucus process or ranked-choice voting, with Nevada becoming the second consecutive state with a more complex system experiencing at least some level of failure in the process.

To read the full letter from the Buttigieg campaign to the Nevada Democratic Party at the link below.


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