December 27, 2011

What is best for Nevada: caucus or primary?

The Las Vegas Sun's Anjeanette Damon examines the differences between a primary and a caucus, and concludes that since Nevada is relatively new to the caucus format, a primary election may be more effective for the state.

Nevada's GOP presidential caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 4, 2012, and Damon notes that the state GOP is allowing each county to set its own rules and times on caucus day, which could lead to confusion among party voters.

Unlike a primary, where voters simply go to the ballot box and select a candidate, a caucus involves party members in each precinct debating the merits of each candidate and then participating in a poll reflecting the group's favored candidates.

Damon notes that Carson City is planning to institute a "vote and go" process that reflects a traditional primary, whereas Clark County is favoring staggered voting times to alleviate crowds.

In 2008, Hillary Clinton's campaign sued to prevent the Nevada Democratic Party from holding a caucus on the Strip, where then-candidate Barack Obama had heavy culinary-union support. Spokesmen for Mitt Romney’s and Ron Paul's campaigns, the only two campaigns with offices in Nevada this year, said it's "unlikely" either campaign would sue.