Democrats outline caucus process
The Democratic Party caucuses scheduled next January are the reason why candidates seeking the party’s national nomination are coming to Carson City on Wednesday.
Those candidates need to build their support in Nevada. Their aim is to gain strong support from Nevada Democrats when the caucuses are held. The caucuses determine which of them receives the most delegates to the Democratic National Convention next summer.
Nevada Democratic Caucus Director Jayson Sime says party members will find the caucuses really aren’t much different than the party convention system Nevada has used for years.
Sime said in an interview Thursday the big change is that the caucuses will be Jan. 19, making it one of the first formal events in the battle over delegates to that national convention. Because of that, he said, Nevada will be much more prominent in the national process of picking the 2008 presidential ticket.
“Generally, it’s not much different that what Nevada has done in previous years,” he said.
Sime said the party is working to make the entire process voter friendly in hopes of increasing party registration.
“What we want is for the newcomers to walk in and feel comfortable.”
Much like the precinct meetings traditionally held before the county and state party conventions, the caucuses will be held in public places such as schools and community centers. And like precinct meetings, Sime said all registered Democrats are welcome to participate and vote in their precinct caucus.
The difference is the caucuses compress what is traditionally done at the precinct meetings, county conventions and the state convention into a single day of debate and balloting. At the end of business Jan. 19, all the candidates will know how many of Nevada’s national delegates each of them has.
Each precinct, he said, will have a certain number of delegates to elect and the candidates will be awarded delegates based on the percentage of votes they receive. If, for example, a precinct has five delegates and 20 of 100 party members who turned out vote for a certain candidate, that candidate will have one of the five delegates.
Sime said the only winner-take-all situation would be for precincts with just one delegate. Then the candidate with the most votes would receive that delegate.
Sime said the whole process will draw more attention to Nevada – making the state more of a player on the national stage.
And that, according to Sime, should draw more Nevadans to the Democratic Party this year.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.
Number of voters
Democrat 396,022 39.9%
Republican 403,020 40.7%
Nonpartisan 144,600 14.6%
Carson City 25,359
Democrat 8,576 33.8%
Republican 12,343 48.7%
Nonpartisan 3,364 13.3%
Democrat 7,220 26.5%
Republican 15,096 59.1%
Nonpartisan 3,622 13.3%
Democrat 6,679 29.8%
Republican 11,390 50.8%
Nonpartisan 3,059 13.6%
Democrat 768 30.9%
Republican 1,234 59.4%
Nonpartisan 325 15.1%
Note: Numbers do not total 100% because minor parties are not listed.