Thus far, there have been three Democratic primary elections; the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, and the Nevada caucuses, which took place Feb. 22 and included four days of early voting. The Nevada caucuses are a closed primary that awards 48 delegates, 36 of which include pledged delegates allocated and determined by caucuses.
Sen. Bernie Sanders took the lead in Nevada, winning by a landslide with a final vote of 46.8 percent. Considering his success of winning the popular vote in Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as trailing close behind former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Iowa’s delegate count, Sanders appears to be gaining significant momentum, making him the obvious front-runner and potential candidate to win the Democratic nomination.
In second place to Sanders came former Vice President Joe Biden with a final vote of 20.2 percent, then Pete Buttigieg in third with a final vote of 14.3 percent. Which still places Buttigieg in the top tier.
Following the release of the final results, there was a stir of controversy over possible inconsistencies in the counting of ballots. Buttigieg’s campaign was the first to make allegations questioning these possible voting irregularities, as Michael Gaffney, Buttigieg’s national ballot access and delegate director, sent correspondence late evening the day of the caucuses to the Nevada Democratic Party.
“In light of material irregularities pertaining to the process of integrating early votes into the in-person precinct caucus results, we request that you release early and in-person votes, correct errors identified by presidential campaigns and explain anomalies in the data,” Gaffney wrote in a letter.
Dissimilar to primaries run by the government, caucuses are party-run where coordination is vital. That said, the margin of error can be somewhat greater, due to the absence of oversight and inaccuracies. Furthermore, voters’ efforts seem to require more diligence, as caucuses entail much more involvement than simply casting a vote at the polls.