“I went to a training last week, and there are lots of concerns among the campaign — ‘How’s it actually going to work?’” said Paul Kleemann, a precinct captain volunteer for the Sanders campaign who teaches high school guitar in Las Vegas. “We were supposed to use the same app as Iowa, but they scrapped that, and as of Wednesday, they hadn’t released how they were going to get the early caucus results to the precincts.” He added, “It’s a little frightening at this point.”
In Nevada, early voting is being held from Saturday through Tuesday in advance of next Saturday’s caucuses. Democratic officials in the state are under pressure to avoid the debacle in Iowa that delayed and muddied the reporting of results from the first nominating contest. At an early caucus site at the East Las Vegas Library, voters waited in a 40-minute line on Saturday morning. After presenting their IDs, they filled in paper ballots by order of their choices, up to a total of five, then deposited them in a slotted box.
The ballots will be shared with the caucus precincts corresponding to their residences. If their first choice is not viable in their home precinct, the next in line will be counted if that person reaches the 15 percent threshold.
“This is the first time we’ve done early voting, and we’ve got to get this right because all eyes are on Nevada,” Representative Dina Titus, Democrat of Nevada, said on Friday. “And if we do a good job, then maybe we get to be first instead of Iowa next time around.”
Still, the concerns about the process did not distract from the high stakes for the candidates.
The burst of campaigning in Nevada signaled a new phase in the primary race, after the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3 and the New Hampshire primary this past Tuesday. The candidates have now plunged into a pivotal and chaotic portion of the calendar, with critical contests coming up in Nevada and South Carolina, and a slew of contests looming on Super Tuesday in early March.
Mr. Sanders came into the weekend riding high, having emerged from New Hampshire with a victory in this past week’s primary, and he was one of several candidates who sought to rally supporters in the state on Saturday.