As early voting began in Nevada’s 2020 Democratic presidential caucus, thousands of people had to wait for two hours or more before voting. The bottleneck was due to a shortage of preprogrammed iPads that the Nevada State Democratic Party gave volunteers to check in voters. Nearly 75,000 people voted early, the Nevada State Democratic Party (NSDP) said. That process continues on Saturday, February 22, with precinct caucuses across the state. There's concern complications may unfold behind closed doors at vote-counting hubs run by the NSDP. The possible problems concern the system used to scan and count the tens of thousands of paper early ballots, as well as the database tracking all of the voters and their votes. One issue that could cause delays in counting Nevada’s early votes would echo a problem faced in Iowa, where that state’s party found that it had understaffed its operations center—when it had to shift from relying on an electronic system that failed to manually recording results from precinct caucuses across the state. If there was an issue with scanning ballots, the February 14 memo from Mounce said that a “Ballot Review Team comprised of the General Counsel for the Nevada State Democratic Party and two other individuals appointed by the [party] Chair… will review, by hand, each ballot.” In other words, in the party’s two early vote-counting centers (that are closed to the press and public — one in Reno and one in Las Vegas), only three people, so far, are empowered to hand-count what could be many ballots out of the nearly 75,000 early votes cast.
Russia Intervenes In U.S. Elections For Trump
Lawmakers are warned that Russia is meddling to re-elect Trump. NYT: "Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him. The day after the Feb. 13 briefing to lawmakers, the president berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place, people familiar with the exchange said. Mr. Trump was particularly irritated that Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the leader of the impeachment proceedings, was at the briefing. Though intelligence officials have previously told lawmakers that Russia’s interference campaign was continuing, last week’s briefing included what appeared to be new information: that Russia intended to interfere with the 2020 Democratic primaries as well as the general election."
Stone Sentenced For Coverup Of Russia Meddling
Roger Stone sentenced to more than 3 years amid furor over Trump and DOJ. NPR: "A federal judge sentenced Roger Stone, a political adviser to President Trump, to more than three years in prison on Thursday amid an uproar about what critics call Trump's interference in the workings of justice. Judge Amy Berman Jackson found herself in the middle of a political sandstorm as she and the parties closed in on sentencing for Stone following his conviction last year. Stone also was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and to serve two years of supervised release. Jackson defended the process that led to Thursday's sentencing amid intense attention from Trump, his supporters and his critics. The charges had been serious, the trial had been appropriate and the system worked, she said. 'He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president,' the judge said. 'He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.' A jury found Stone guilty of lying to Congress, obstructing its investigation and witness tampering. Prosecutors initially recommended that he receive a sentence of between seven and nine years in prison. Stone sought to serve as an intermediary between Trump's campaign in 2016 and WikiLeaks, which was releasing material stolen by Russian cyberattackers aiming to embarrass political targets in the United States. Attorney General William Barr thought that suggestion was too severe and, according to his account, decided to order the U.S. Attorney's Office for Washington, D.C., to file a second memo calling for less prison time. Over the same period of hours, Trump criticized the initial sentencing recommendation on Twitter and, separately, praised Barr for, as the president put it, 'taking charge' of the case."
NV Tests Strength Of Latinx Voters
Which Democratic candidate will win the Latino vote? Nevada is the first test. NBC: "José Ramirez used to go door to door preaching the word as a Jehovah's Witness. Now he's knocking on the doors of Latinos as a Bernie Sanders evangelist. It's his second time working on Sanders' campaigns, and he has stepped up his game, from calling potential voters on Sanders' behalf in 2016 to block walking in Latino-heavy East Las Vegas. 'I will not let any opportunity pass by that I can [to] help elect Bernie,' Ramirez said. Early voting began Saturday in Nevada ahead of the state's caucus on Feb. 22nd, which will give Democrats their first substantial feedback from Latino voters on their presidential candidates. While Latinos voted in Iowa and New Hampshire and efforts were made to increase participation, Nevada has a larger, far more active Latino electorate. Nevada has made itself a key part of the Democratic process, not only as the first-in-the-West caucus, but also by showing how Democrats could win by harnessing Latino votes. Latinos are almost a third —29 percent — of Nevada's population and almost 20 percent of the 2.07 million registered voters in the state, according to the Pew Research Center."
Bloomberg Quietly Pursues Brokered Convention Win
Bloomberg quietly plotting brokered convention strategy. Politico: "Mike Bloomberg is privately lobbying Democratic Party officials and donors allied with his moderate opponents to flip their allegiance to him — and block Bernie Sanders — in the event of a brokered national convention. The effort, largely executed by Bloomberg’s senior state-level advisers in recent weeks, attempts to prime Bloomberg for a second-ballot contest at the Democratic National Convention in July by poaching supporters of Joe Biden and other moderate Democrats, according to two Democratic strategists familiar with the talks and unaffiliated with Bloomberg. The outreach has involved meetings and telephone calls with supporters of Biden and Pete Buttigieg — as well as uncommitted DNC members — in Virginia, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and North Carolina, according to one of the strategists who participated in meetings and calls. With Sanders’ emergence as the frontrunner in the presidential primary, Democrats in those states have recently raised the prospect that the democratic socialist could be a top-of-the-ticket liability. 'There’s a whole operation going on, which is genius,' said one of the strategists, who is unaffiliated with any campaign. 'And it’s going to help them win on the second ballot … They’re telling them that’s their strategy.'"
Sanders Wants Voters To Choose, Not Superdelegates
Every Democratic candidate except Bernie Sanders indicates support for a contested convention. Salon: "Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was the only candidate at Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate who argued that the individual with the most delegates should be nominated at the Democratic National Convention. 'Well, the 'process' includes 500 superdelegates on the second ballot,' Sanders said. 'So I think that the will of the people should prevail. Yes, the person who has the most votes should become the nominee.' A Washington Post analysis concluded that Sanders could soon be an 'uncatchable leader' who 'can't clinch the nomination' because of a delegate split. While it's expected that Sanders will win a large number of delegates on Super Tuesday, a crowded field of candidates remains. There's currently a 40% chance that no candidate will win at least half of the 3,979 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, according to election forecaster Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight model. If no candidate has enough pledged delegates to earn the nomination on the first ballot, the vote would then move on to a second ballot. Hundreds of superdelegates excluded from the first ballot under new Democratic rules would be allowed to vote. Pledged delegates would be unbound, allowing them to back any candidate they choose. 'There's a very good chance none of you are going to have enough delegates,' NBC News host Chuck Todd told the candidates at the close of the Nevada debate. 'Should the person with the most delegates at the end of this primary season be the nominee even if they are short of a majority?' Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said the party should follow the "process" laid out in its rules. 'So you want the convention to work its will?' Todd pressed. 'Yes,' Bloomberg responded. Former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., agreed the party should let the process play out. Sanders, the rising frontrunner who is projected to have that insurmountable lead which falls short of the delegate threshold, was the lone dissenter."