POLITICS

Nevada Democrats Propose Major Changes To 2020 Presidential Caucus

The Nevada State Democratic Party is planning to add virtual caucuses and a four-day early-voting period to attract more participants in primary elections.
People line up to participate in the Democratic caucus at the University of Nevada in Reno. Nevada Democrats are proposing ma
People line up to participate in the Democratic caucus at the University of Nevada in Reno. Nevada Democrats are proposing major changes to their presidential caucuses.

Nevada Democrats on Wednesday released a list of proposed changes to their caucus for the 2020 presidential elections that includes major updates to the voting process to make it more accessible for residents.

As part of the caucus revamp, the Nevada State Democratic Party is proposing a four-day early voting period, similar to the one offered during general elections, for those who cannot attend the state party’s caucus on Feb. 22, 2020, as well as a two-day virtual caucus for voters who cannot be present at the caucus in February. 

The state party also proposed adding Tagalog as a preferred language at caucus locations to accommodate a growing Asian-American and Pacific Islander population. English and Spanish are currently used in caucuses.

The proposal still needs to be approved by the Democratic National Committee. The state party will submit it to the committee on May 3. For the next 30 days, the plans are up for public comment.

“The Nevada State Democratic Party is creating a uniquely Nevada caucus process ― one that reflects how Nevadans vote and the communities we live in,” William McCurdy II, the party chair, said in a statement. 

“We’re working to execute a successful caucus that will help us maintain our competitive edge that led to historic Democratic gains in 2016 and 2018,” he added. “Our new Delegate Selection Plan will ensure 2020 is Nevada’s most expansive and accessible caucus yet.”

According to the proposal, Nevada Democrats will be able to remotely attend two virtual caucuses on Feb. 16 and 17, when they can vote for the Democratic presidential candidate they’d like to see in the general election. Any voters who want to attend will have to pre-register.

Early in-person voting would take place from Feb. 15 to 18. Voters who register for the virtual caucus cannot participate in early voting in person, even if they miss the virtual caucus.

The state party will keep the results of the early voting until the actual caucus day on Feb. 22.

After Nevada’s Democratic Party announced it would overhaul its caucus process in early March, Jorge Neri, a political strategist who previously worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Nevada in 2016, told The Associated Press that the changes would force presidential candidates to find ways to educate the public about the new caucus voting rules and target which ways voters would likely vote.

“You would have to really build up your field team and spend more time working to educate people on this process,” Neri told AP.

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