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Joe Biden worried about accuracy of Nevada caucuses

In an interview Friday with the Review-Journal, former Vice President Joe Biden expressed some doubt about whether the Nevada caucuses will go smoothly on Saturday, adding that he also believes the American people may be finished with the caucus system in general.

Biden said he was concerned by recent reports of unsigned ballots being rejected.

“I think the party here is doing everything it can to try to make sure this is a totally legitimate count, but caucuses are hard — it’s really hard,” Biden said. “And I worry about not malintent — I worry about the inability to substantively organize.”

As an example, he noted that he is still not sure how the early preference cards are counted and moved to each voters’ corresponding precinct.

Early this week, the Nevada State Democratic Party indicated the precinct cards would be scanned, with the results preloaded onto iPads and given to precinct captains in a paper form as a backup.

“I have much more confidence in the outcome — in terms of being on the button, totally accurate — of a primary than I do a caucus, but we’ll see,” Biden said.

Asked if he thought caucuses would go extinct after 2020, Biden said he did.

“I have to tell you honestly I think that’s the judgment the American people are going to make,” he said, citing voters having to understand viability and the perception that more mistakes can happen during a caucus as examples.

Biden said that he felt good going into the caucuses, noting that it is still early in the nominating process.

He repeated what he and his small army of surrogates have said in dozens of appearances throughout the state in the last few weeks: He’s putting together a diverse coalition of working-class voters, former Republicans, independents and communities of color to win the nomination.

Biden has led in nearly all polls in Nevada up until a few weeks ago, when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — fresh of a win in New Hampshire and fueled by the largest organizing presence on the ground in Nevada — overtook him.

The former vice president conceded that Sanders has momentum at the moment and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pushed his way into the race with big spending, but he believes the spotlight shined on those two candidates will reveal major holes in their records.

As he did on the debate stage earlier this week, Biden claimed Sanders’ record is soft on gun-control and immigration, while Bloomberg must answer for racially divisive policies during his mayoral tenure.

“Whoever begins to rise, then all of a sudden the spotlight is put on them,” Biden said.

He cited a Wednesday Atlantic article that claimed Sanders had to be talked out of challenging President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential primaries as example.

“I’ve had that spotlight on me for a long time,” Biden said. “(The news media) have gone back legitimately and appropriately at every vote I’ve ever cast…. and I’m still standing.”

Contact Rory Appleton at RAppleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

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