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
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.
That data shows 50% of Nevada precincts
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.