The Chaos and Controversy of the Democratic #NevadaConvention, Explained

The state of Nevada is a hotbed of election controversy following a chaotic Democratic convention over the weekend. If you're thinking "Wait, didn't Nevada already have their caucus?" You're right. They did.
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The state of Nevada is a hotbed of election controversy following a chaotic Democratic convention over the weekend. If you're thinking "Wait, didn't Nevada already have their caucus?" You're right. They did.

But the process of choosing the Democratic delegates to represent Nevada at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this July is one of the most complicated in the country--and, as a result, conflict broke out between supporters of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' over the delegate count.

What is the state convention?

So, the Nevada state convention exists to hand out the 7 at-large delegates. Nevada has a total of 35 and at the time of the caucus, back in February, the 23 votes were distributed proportionately to the two presidential contenders: 13 to Clinton and 10 to Sanders, based on how many votes each one got in the caucus.

What exactly were the caucus results?

Clinton won the Nevada caucus:

So why the controversy?

There was a heated ordeal over the fact that Bernie Sanders supporters tried to change the delegate count at the state level, and that effort failed.

In April, about 2 months after the primary, the Democrats in Nevada elected the people to serve as delegates in the state convention.

A count of delegates pledged to Bernie Sanders at the Lyon County Democratic Party convention in Sliver Springs, Nevada, on April 2nd, 2016. The count was held to make sure all 88 of the initially allocated Sanders delegates were accounted for after seating alternates. A similar count was made of the Clinton delegates. Afterwards, delegates could switch affiliations before the final split of delegates to the State convention was decided. (Kevin Standlee/Flickr)

Sanders supporters out-organized Clinton's and surpassed the number of delegates significantly. Sanders supporters ended up getting 2,124 people elected to the state convention, in comparison to Clinton's 1,722.

Initial report of the Credentials Committee of the Lyon County Democratic Party convention in Silver Springs, Nevada, April 2nd, 2016. Numbers at right (Clinton 80, Sanders 88) represent the number of delegates initially elected to the county convention by the caucuses earlier in the year, while the numbers in the slots (Clinton 42, Sanders 65) were the number of directly elected delegates for each candidate who actually showed up. Alternates pledged for the candidates were seated to fill the vacancies when possible, but so few Clinton alternates showed up that the final delegate count was Clinton 66, Sanders 102. Thus the county ended up sending to the State convention 21 Clinton delegates and 34 Sanders delegates. (Kevin Standlee/Flickr)

Suggesting--despite the fact that Clinton won the caucus--that Sanders would actually take the lead in Nevada.

But that didn't happen, and Sanders supporters believe it's because some things went down in Nevada a crooked way that favors Clinton. Specifically, they really did not like the last-minute changes to the rules governing how voice votes would be verified.

There were also loud demands for a vote recount.

And they responded to perceived unfairness by getting rowdy.

They even booed longtime liberal Senator Barbara Boxer of California.

Why didn't Sanders take the lead in Nevada convention delegates?

Part of the reason that this didn't happen is because 56 of Sanders' delegates didn't register as Democrats by the May deadline.

So in the end, Clinton ended up with most of the delegates, bringing her total to 2,240--just a handful of delegates away from winning the nomination.

But despite winning the likelihood of winning the nomination there is definitely concern from the Democratic party that she may not be able to bring Sanders' supporters on to her side. Clinton supporters definitely don't want a scene like this at their state convention in July--they want to project party unity in their effort to defeat Donald Trump.

This article was written by Allison Hollender and originally appeared on Kicker. Kicker explains the most important, compelling things going on in the world and empowers you to get in the know, make up your own mind, and take action. For more, check out the Kicker site, like their Facebook page, or subscribe to their email newsletter.

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