This is the third in my series of vote integrity articles, based on the idea that our confidence in our democracy is only as good as our confidence in our voting systems. After so many shenanigans in recent years, starting most famously in the new millennium with the Florida 2000 presidential election debacle in Florida, the best remedy is for average voters to understand, at a high level, how their vote casting and counting procedure is supposed to work, so that they can be vigilant in watching for irregularities and departures from standard rules. Once aware, these can be halted immediately with injunctions from the appropriate court if necessary.
A primer for the extraordinary range of subterfuges, rotten tricks and dirty dealing which can be employed against a candidate who is not favored by a party establishment can be seen at the OpEdNews.com article “How the GOP Establishment Stole the Nomination From Ron Paul.”
Now comes the Nevada Democratic Caucus, the important third presidential contest of the season, and the first in which the populace shows any real diversity. How does it work? What are its vulnerabilities to fraud and hacking, and what should vote integrity monitors be watching for?
One peculiarity of the Nevada caucus is its wide-open same day registration and voting without requiring any form of ID. Although voter identification is ordinarily a Republican issue, in a hotly contested caucus like the one before us it is not hard to see the potential for abuse.
The Nevada Democratic Caucus is similar to Iowa’s: participants in a room publicly congregate around a sign with the name of the candidate they support, and then lobby undecideds and supporters of trailing candidates to switch sides until a winner is declared. In the event of a tie, unlike the coin toss rule in Iowa, the Nevada caucus, fittingly for the home of Las Vegas, breaks a tie with a deck of cards. An unopened deck of cards is cracked and shuffled, and the side drawing the high card wins.
In the Nevada caucus the media will be invited to follow the proceedings only in Washoe County. As far as all the other precinct and counties, a Democratic party election official would only say to me, “Let’s go on to the next question.”
The history of the Nevada Caucuses bears its share of controversy, but mostly on the GOP side. In 2008 a plaintiff associated with the Hillary Clinton campaign filed suit against Obama sympathizers for putting polling stations near the work places of Las Vegas strip hospitality workers, who often work on Saturday and thus would have trouble getting to polls near their homes. The lawsuit claimed that this was unfair.
The Sanders campaign has taken the vote-watching measures far more seriously than many other previous campaigns, with workers equipped with apps to track and monitor vote totals. Experience shows that at the precinct level, vote counting is usually honest enough. Suspicious discrepancies tend to happen in how that count gets recorded and reported out by the centralized party headquarters which takes the totals.
Comments are closed on this story.