Chaos at Nevada's GOP Caucus - Reports of Double Voting and Trump Gear on Poll Staff

The Republican caucuses in Nevada descended into chaos on Tuesday evening, with multiple reports of double voting, and even more of caucus volunteers – who are supposed to remain neutral as they distribute and count the ballots – wearing Donald Trump apparel at caucus sites.

Vote-counting and voter registration mistakes, including multiple allegations that identification was not checked by volunteers when voters were signed in, were also reported in multiple caucus sites. Disorganization also led to long queues at caucus sites across the state.

The cause appeared partly to be extremely high turnout, with many caucus sites running out of ballot papers entirely.

The Nevada GOP gave a statement to PBS’s John Ralston while caucuses were ongoing, addressing the issues. “Obviously we take reports of double-voting very seriously, and we will be reviewing ballots,” the statement said, though the official went on to say “not the entire place was in chaos” and that it was was “contained”. The state GOP also tweeted: “There have been no official reports of voting irregularities or violations.”

However, multiple reports from dozens of sites contradicted this.

Caucuses are not directly governed by law, as their rules are imposed by state party organizations, not the government. They are actions of party bylaw. But even those rules appear to have been either brazenly flouted or – at best – not clearly defined to volunteers and activists.

The rule against wearing candidate apparel, for example, appears to originate in the mists of previous caucus tradition, rather than any codified party statute, though even this is entirely unclear.

The state GOP tweeted later in the evening to clarify that volunteers wearing candidate apparel was not against a specific rule:

Another problem appears to be that the state party organization was completely unprepared for the level of turnout, despite polling indicating that it was likely to be this high.

Many took to Twitter to mock the catastrophe unfolding across Nevada. “The only thing we know for sure is that, no matter how well he actually does tonight, #MarcoRubio will give a victory speech tonight,” tweeted political strategist Donna Brazille.

Others tweeted variations of “live from the scene at the Nevada Republican caucuses” accompanied by gifs of the Syrian civil war, cartoons of exploding cars, pictures of dumpster fires, or the fight scene from the movie Anchorman where the character Brick kills a man with a trident.


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