Buttigieg Raises Concerns Over Results of Nevada Caucuses

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Posted: Feb 23, 2020 5:45 PM
Buttigieg Raises Concerns Over Results of Nevada Caucuses

Source: AP Photo/John Locher

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is asking the Nevada Democratic Party to address concerns regarding the final results from the Nevada Caucuses that took place on Saturday. With about 60 percent of precincts reporting in, Buttigieg currently sits as the third place finisher and right around the 15 percent threshold needed for the candidate's Nevada delegates to advance to the national convention. Buttigieg Deputy Campaign Manager Hari Sevugan told The Hill that the campaign's internal data currently shows the candidate with a "razor thin margin" for a second place finish in the Silver State. 

The Nevada Independent has obtained a letter sent from the Buttigieg campaign to Nevada Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II. In the letter, the campaign requests the party to correct errors involving early votes and second alignment totals, release the totals for early votes and in-person votes by individual precinct and explain so-called anomalies in the reporting data. 

(Letter via The Nevada Independent)

In a February 13 memorandum, the Party explained that it understood “just how important it is that we get this right,” vowing to “protect the integrity of Nevadans’ votes.” We share the Party’s understanding of the need to get this right. We write to request that the Party take concrete steps to make that a reality. To ensure the Party delivers on its goal of delivering the most transparent caucus in history, and in light of material irregularities pertaining to the process of integrating early votes into the in-person precinct caucus results, we request that you: (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; and (3) Explain anomalies in the data. Given how close the race is between second and third place, we ask that you take these steps before releasing any final data.

Saturday's caucuses were the first time Nevada has allowed early voting. Some voters and precinct volunteers were reportedly confused when it came time to incorporate early votes into the realignment of caucusgoers on Saturday. Nearly 75,000 Nevadans cast early votes ahead of Saturday's caucuses, nearly matching the 84,000 total of all caucusgoers who showed up in the 2016 election. 

Nevada State Democratic Party spokeswoman Molly Forgey responded on Sunday, saying the Party would not change the reporting process as they continue to verify and report the official results. 

"We never indicated we would release a separate breakdown of early vote and in-person attendees by precinct and will not change our reporting process now," said Forgey. "As laid out in our recount guidance, there is a formal method for requesting a challenge of results."

Socialist Bernie Sanders pulled off a decisive win in Nevada on Saturday, capturing 46 percent of the vote among the 60 percent of precincts reporting in so far. Former Vice President Joe Biden currently sits in second, with nearly 20 percent for the vote, and Buttigieg at third with a little over 15 percent, according to the AP