weather icon Clear

Nevada to launch caucus voting by phone for 2020

Updated July 8, 2019 - 6:33 pm

Democratic voters across Nevada will have the opportunity to caucus for the party’s presidential nominee by phone for the first time next year.

Party leaders say the change, triggered by a mandate from the Democratic National Committee, is aimed at making the caucus process more accessible and expansive.

“Our team has been working tirelessly to make this caucus a success, and we’re excited to be giving our Democratic community every option we can to ensure they make their voice heard,” said William McCurdy II, chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party.

Democrats will get multiple options to participate in February’s caucus, he said, including in-person early voting, phone voting and in-person voting on caucus day at assigned locations. Hospitality workers will also have the option of attending caucus sites on the Strip.

The traditional caucus — in which participants declare their allegiance to candidates and try to persuade fellow Democrats allied with rival candidates to switch sides — will still take place Feb. 22.

To participate in the virtual caucus, Nevadans need to be registered as Democrats by Nov. 30 and sign up for phone caucusing between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15, 2020, according to the party’s caucus director, Shelby Wiltz.

Voters will then receive unique login credentials. On whichever day they choose to participate, virtual caucus-goers will call a provided number, enter their credentials and pick one of three languages: English, Spanish or Tagalog.

Participants will select their preferences with an interactive, automated moderator that will guide them through the process, Wiltz said. Voters will be able to make selections through pressing a number on the phone or speaking their responses.

“We expect this to be a quick and easy process for folks,” she said.

Voters will get the chance to review and correct any mistakes they made during the process before sending votes through for tabulation.

In 2016, the party offered overseas service members the ability to dial into a conference line to pick their preferred candidate, Wiltz said.

Wiltz said next year’s process will likely occur during certain hours on virtual caucus days, which are set for Feb. 16 or 17. If issues arise, voters will have access to a hotline to chat with real people, she said.

Wiltz said the security of the process is the party’s main concern.

“We are really excited to be working closely with the DNC as well as security experts to ensure the integrity of our process,” Wiltz said.

She said the party will be testing the process and ensuring workers did not miss any security holes. The virtual caucus will feature multiple ways to authenticate a person’s identity throughout registration and a login to protect the integrity of the votes, she said.

Democrats opted for a phone-in system because many Nevadans lack access to reliable internet service, Wiltz said.

The party is still deciding how many candidate options will be provided to voters, Wiltz said.

“There’s a lot of factors that will determine that decision, so we will release that information as we have it available,” she said.

Nevada is the first state in the West to caucus, and third on the Democratic nominating calendar.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
House committee OKs bill by Titus for airport signs

The House Homeland Security Committee approved a bill by Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., Wednesday to translate airport signs into multiple languages to assist tourists and others who don’t speak English.