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How will 2020 Democrats fare in more diverse Nevada?

The Nevada caucuses officially begin Saturday, but a massive number of voters has turned out already for early participation. Because the demographics of the diverse state more closely resemble those of the Democratic Party overall, this contest is attracting particular attention. The stakes are also higher due to the confusing results of the previous 2020 caucuses, in Iowa. Amna Nawaz reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Nevada Democratic presidential caucuses take place tomorrow, but the action is already under way, with a massive number of voters who've already turned out early.

    As Amna Nawaz reports, it is the first contest with a diverse population that more closely resembles the demographics of the Democratic Party.

  • Jamie Martinez:

    My name is Jamie. And we're just making sure everyone's up to date with their voter registration.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    For a few hours, every few weeks…

  • Jamie Martinez:

    Hello. How's your afternoon going? Are you registered to vote? We're just making sure everyone's up to date with their voter registration.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    … 17-year-old Jamie Martinez takes to the streets of East Las Vegas, registering new voters before Saturday's crucial caucuses.

  • Jamie Martinez:

    I think voting is so important, mostly because there was people before us that weren't able to vote. Also, it lets you be involved.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Martinez has been working with Mi Familia Vota since September to mobilize the state's Latino community, get them to flex their political muscle, and make sure the candidates are focused on their issues.

    Cecia Alvarado is the group's Nevada state director.

  • Cecia Alvarado:

    Immigration continues to always be the number one issue. But Latinos also care about health care. They care about the environment. They care about the effects of climate change. And the effects of climate change are affecting our community the most.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Statewide in Nevada, Latinos today comprise 29 percent of the population, African-Americans 10 percent, and Asian Americans nearly 9 percent.

    Democratic candidates know the numbers and are now fighting for those votes.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.:

    Dream big!

  • Audience:

    Fight on!

  • Amna Nawaz:

    In North Las Vegas, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren rallies a room of supporters, criticizing former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's stop and frisk policy and its effect on communities of color.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

    But, boy, what to do about all those Latinos and African-Americans that got slammed over the hoods, for doing what? Walking while black?

  • Amna Nawaz:

    On the campus of University of Nevada, Las Vegas, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg sits down with the Black Law Students Association.

    Caleb Green is a UNLV grad, now an attorney in Las Vegas.

  • Caleb Green:

    So a lot of the top issues for me are environment, what are we going to do as far as the climate, and making those changes, the economy, as well as immigration.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    In Chinatown, former Vice President Joe Biden courts voters at an Asian American Pacific Islander event.

  • Former Vice President Joseph Biden:

    We have been able to cherry-pick the best from every single continent and culture, because the people who come are the people who are resilient.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Jie Bu is here to try and figure out who he will support.

  • Jie Bu:

    What he has done for the country before as the vice president. And, however, you know, given the situation right now, I think I'm not decided who I'm going to vote for.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Meanwhile, multiple candidates made sure to show up and show support for another key voting bloc.

  • Protester:

    Who's got the power?

  • Protesters:

    We got the power!

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Members of the powerful Culinary Workers Union, some of whom were picketing this week as part of a labor dispute.

    But looming over Nevada's caucuses is the long shadow of Iowa, where confusion over a new caucus app resulted in chaos. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez promised a different ending in Nevada.

    What do you say to voters who saw what happened in Iowa and are worried a similar thing could happen here?

  • Tom Perez:

    We have gone to school on Iowa, and we have a great team of folks. We are continuing to make sure that everyone's prepared for Saturday. And I'm really proud of our team. We have got all hands on deck.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    But there are some firsts that could complicate the process. The state's using a new caucus calculator to tally results pre-loaded onto iPads and distributed to volunteers.

    Over the last week, Nevada Democrats have hosted over 50 training sessions like this to prepare precinct chairs and site leads, like Ann Germaine.

  • Ann Germaine:

    I'm a little apprehensive. I certainly have questions, which is wonderful that they have these trainings for me to come to, because I do want to be well-informed and I want to know what I'm doing and help the process.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    This new system was put into place after the state scrapped plans to use the same app Iowa used. Also for the first time, the state will be rolling in results from four days of early voting.

  • Michiko Smith-Memapan:

    We have been in line for about 20 minutes. I think it's been going pretty smooth so far.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Nearly 75,000 people stood in line to vote early this year. Compare that to 2016, when a total of 85,000 people turned up to caucus.

    Bryan Ozambela is a first-time voter who cast his ballot early for Bernie Sanders.

  • Bryan Ozambela:

    I feel comfortable that my vote will be represented. Even if my candidate doesn't win, I still feel like everything that I have been through and the way that the process has been so far is very fair.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Also among those early voters was Jamie Martinez.

    Now, why did you decide to vote early, instead of taking part in the caucuses?

  • Jamie Martinez:

    Mostly because I couldn't wait.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The sun is setting in Las Vegas, but Martinez scours the lot, making sure she doesn't miss a single potential voter.

  • Jamie Martinez:

    When you're not informed, you're just letting stuff, like, happen. You don't vote, you let stuff happen. And I don't want to let stuff happen.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That's our Amna Nawaz reporting from Las Vegas.

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