Now, many voters say they are confused and angry.
The main reason for the confusion is the absence of former President Donald Trump’s name on the state’s primary ballot.
Nevada elections and party officials have fielded thousands of calls over the past few weeks from voters who received mail-in ballots for the state’s Feb. 6 primary, not realizing Trump was competing in the Republican caucus just two days later. officials with local GOP parties, state and voting rights groups.
Trump is not on the ballot because he has not filed for the state election. He is expected to easily win the caucuses and hold all 26 of Nevada’s state delegates.
This is the first time Nevada has experienced dual contests. The change comes after the Democratic-led state Legislature changed the law after the 2020 election, eliminating state-run caucuses. The state Republican Party nevertheless decided to hold a caucus. He condemned the state-run primary election, saying it was a waste of taxpayers’ money and suspected voter fraud.
In a flurry of calls, some GOP leaders say they told voters to vote, but instead of choosing Nikki Haley, the only major candidate on the list, they told them to choose “none of these candidates.” Then they invite them to Trump’s caucus.
One Republican leader made no secret of his disdain for Haley, who has visited the state only once since last May.
“We tell them there are three things you can do with your ballot: write ‘None of these candidates,’ or you can put it in the shredder, or you can rub your nose in it,” Bruce Parks, chairman of the Washoe County Republican Party, said of the state contest’s mail-in ballots. he said. Washoe is Nevada’s second-most populous county, and Parks said she fielded about 1,000 phone calls in the last week from Republicans worried about the ballots.
The conventional wisdom is that Haley will easily win the state-run primary because she is the favored candidate on the ballot. As of Tuesday, more than 40,000 Republicans had already cast ballots in the state’s primary, according to the secretary of state.
But Nevada also has the option to vote for “none of these candidates.” The former South Carolina governor would still be considered the winner if he got more votes than Haley, a phenomenon that has happened in Nevada in the past, but the public vote total could be embarrassing.
It was a conclusion Parks shrugged off.
“Nikki Haley sent a clear message to everyone in Nevada that she doesn’t care about Nevada,” he said. Haley, like other former candidates, said the caucus was designed for Trump strong party ties to the former president.
Haley’s victory, even if she won no delegates, could bring her positive media attention.
A spokesman for the state of Nevada said about a third of all calls the office has received since the start of the year are about the caucus and/or Trump, and the emails it has received so far this year are the main issue. The standard answer is that Trump did not participate in the primaries and is participating in a party-controlled caucus.
In less populated Nye County, the Republican chairman said he has personally made about 500 phone calls since mail-in ballots began hitting homes in the first week of January. He told those who wanted to vote for Trump that they couldn’t choose “any of these candidates” on their ballots, and then he couldn’t choose his caucus.
“It just creates a very big disaster,” Nye County GOP Chairman Leo Blundo said. But he added that he also sees an opportunity.
“It’s a great tool to get into the party apparatus, to activate Republicans, to bring them into the party, and to bring them into the party,” he said.
Many Republicans have criticized the state for moving to the primary.
“Due to Joe Biden’s embarrassing loss to Bernie Sanders in 2020, the Nevada Democratic caucus has shifted to a primary,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Caroline Leavitt said. “The Republican Caucus will be held on February 8th, and we are calling on all registered Republicans in Nevada to come out and make their voices heard for President Trump.”
When presidential elections are more crowded, candidates complained The amendment was made for Trump in Nevada because of the party’s ties to the former president.
The party hierarchy went to Mar-a-Lago last year, and six GOP leaders recently charged with charges It’s about serving as fake Trump voters in the 2020 campaign. Several 2,024 candidates, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Haley opted to be on the primary ballot. Scott and Pence have since dropped out.
The competition in the caucus came with a $55,000 price tag. And the Nevada GOP dictated that candidates could only choose one contest. (However, voters are free to participate in both the primary and the caucus if they choose.)
“I talk to people in Nevada, and they’ll tell you the caucuses have been closed, bought and paid for for a long time. That’s why we entered the primary,” Haley said on January 21 at a stop in New Hampshire. “That’s what the caucus is. And these are the people who are trying to stop him. But this is the Trump train. But we will pay attention to the states that are fair.”
Elko County GOP Chairman Lee Hoffman said he had to educate voters who were misled that they couldn’t vote in the general election if they didn’t participate in the state-run primary. Republican leaders were put in a difficult position by telling voters that they were allowed to vote twice this time: both in the primary and in the caucuses. In any case, it is not excluded that they vote in general elections.
“This is the first year there’s been all this confusion between the primary and the caucus, and I just don’t know what to expect,” he said. “In a lot of ways, it lit a fire under them because people were getting those ballots without their candidates.”
Kerry Durmick, Nevada state director of the nonpartisan voter advocacy group All Voting Is Local, said the state’s smallest counties receive hundreds of phone calls about such questions. The group helps educate people both in group and primary group.
“We’re just focused on making sure people know the facts about how to vote and who they want to vote for,” Durmick said. “Because the primary system is more accessible … This will be the most accessible election in Nevada history.”