The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Apparently, Nevada Caucus-Counters Hate to Work Weekends


From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas — Including, Apparently, Caucus Results

We’re sorry, Saturday’s Nevada Republican presidential caucus did not conclude in time for the Monday edition of the Morning Jolt.

I exaggerate . . . but not by much.

As of 6 a.m. Monday morning: “As projected, Mitt Romney won handily, finishing with 50 percent. Newt Gingrich was second with 21 percent, edging out Ron Paul who had 19 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum finished last with 10 percent . . . GOP executive director David Gallagher says representatives from the campaigns approved the counting. Only 32,963 voters participated in the caucuses, far short of the 44,000 Republicans who voted in the 2008 GOP caucuses.”

The word late Sunday night:

More than 24 hours after Nevada Republicans began gathering at schools and community centers across the state to choose their presidential nominee, the election results remain uncertain.

While most of the results were released hours after the Saturday morning contest, the results from the state’s most populous county are still being tallied.

Clark County officials say they stayed up until the wee hours of Sunday morning counting ballots, but couldn’t finish the task. Only 70 percent of all the votes had been counted, and an official turnout for Clark County had yet to be made public.

“It is just layer upon layer of issues that we are trying to work through,” said acting GOP chairman James Smack. “We are not dragging our feet on it. We just want to make sure we get it right.”

One reason for the holdup?

Long lines, voter fraud complaints and angry Ron Paul supporters are turning a special caucus for religious voters who honor the Saturday Sabbath into a circus.

The Las Vegas caucus was supposed to start hours after the rest of the state concluded its Republican presidential caucuses.

But party officials were still frantically trying to sign in voters an hour after it started, further delaying election results from Nevada’s most populous county.

Part of the trouble was some Paul supporters told voters they could show up for the late-night caucus for whatever reason.

But voters could only participate if they signed a declaration affirming that they couldn’t vote during the regular morning caucuses because of their faith.

Clark County GOP chair David Gibbs says it’s up to voters to be honest.

Boy, that last sentence just sends waves of reassurance surging through your body, huh? Because if there’s anything that millennia of human history have taught us, it’s that people are honest, particularly when it comes to obtaining political power.

The finger-pointing has begun, but this is no time for this, fellas. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Chuck Muth, a former Nevada GOP executive director, wrote on his blog that the night was the “Nevada GOP’s national embarrassment.”

“You can say this about Nevada Republicans: they are consistent,” Muth wrote. “They never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity. And hoo-ahhh . . . did they ever blow this one!”

Clark County GOP Chairman Dave Gibbs did not return messages left on his cell phone Sunday morning.

By all accounts, the night was a foreseeable disaster, months in the making.

The county party leaders rebuffed the state party’s wishes for a streamlined method of delivering results and state officials here don’t have sufficient clout to order the local officials around.

Oh, and Fox News reports that in some precincts, there are disputes because of more ballots cast than people signed up for that precinct.

“Romney is at 49.6%. Will probably get over 50% once all NV GOP votes are tallied, sometime in 2013,” summarized Larry Sabato.

The era of caucuses must come to an end.

Tags: Mitt Romney , Nevada


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