Nevada Democrats announce changes to 2020 caucus

Nevada Democrats proposed extensive changes to their 2020 caucus on Wednesday, recommending in-person early voting and a way for voters to caucus absentee as a way for the process to be more open to Democrats.

The plan includes long-held proposals, like hosting caucus sites on the Las Vegas Strip for hospitality workers and offering bilingual preference cards in English and Spanish. It also adds new proposals, such as a four day in-person voting period for those unable to caucus on February 22, a two-day virtual caucus for those Democrats who can’t participate at all in person and adding Tagalog to the list of languages offered in caucus locations.

William McCurdy II, the chairman of the Nevada State Democratic Party, touted the accessibility of the new caucus process.

“Our new delegate selection plan will ensure that 2020 is Nevada’s most expansive, accessible and fair caucus yet,” McCurdy said.

The announcement follows similar changes made by Iowa Democrats in February, when they rolled out a plan that included a virtual caucus in an effort to make the process more open.

“This is going to be our most open and expansive caucus process yet, so we are providing multiple options for diverse communities to participate, whether it is virtually, in person early or on caucus day,” said Alana Mounce, the executive director of Nevada’s Democratic Party.

There are a number of distinct differences between the Nevada and Iowa plans, including — and most significantly — how those who participate absentee or virtually will be counted.

In Iowa, virtual caucus-goers will be treated separately from those who caucus in person. Virtual caucus attendees will be totaled and separated by Iowa’s four congressional districts, and each district will be awarded 10% more delegates based on the breakdown of the virtual process.

Nevada is taking a different tact.

“Our process will be different than Iowa’s,” Mounce said. “Whether you participate early or if you participate through our virtual caucus process, your preference will be respected on caucus day as if you were in the room and you, your individual vote, will count towards the viability threshold on caucus day.”

Nevada’s plan is not finalized yet. The state party is still looking for a vendor to host their virtual caucus and there will be a public comment period for much of April until the plan is officially submitted to the Democratic National Committee on May 3.

“Our primary goal in crafting this new plan is to offer every Nevada Democrat the opportunity to make their voice heard,” McCurdy said.