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Nevada boosts Sanders’ front-runner status as Democrats turn to South Carolina

The remaining tally of votes in the Nevada caucuses continued streaming in on Sunday, a day after Sen. Bernie Sanders took a commanding lead among the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates vying for the White House. Megan Messerly, a reporter for The Nevada Independent, joins Hari Sreenivasan from Las Vegas with more on the results from the caucuses.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    For more on the results from the caucuses, Megan Masserly, a reporter for the Nevada Independent, joins us now from Las Vegas. First, let's talk about one of the stories that you were publishing late last night, which is that Mr. Buttigieg campaign had complaints about irregularities. What were their complaints?

  • Megan Messerly:

    Right. So Pet Buttigieg campaign sent a letter to the Nevada State Democratic Party just before midnight last night, letting them know that they discovered some irregularities and errors in the results. This is based off of the reports that they received from their precinct captains. They said that there were a lot of issues with the transferal of early voting data into the caucus-day process. For instance, they said in some instances they didn't think that early votes were were getting counted during the realignment. There was at least one instance where they say the wrong precinct data, early-vote data was used on caucus day. So they're asking the party right now to release the sep, the separation between the in-person and the early vote totals so they can go through and sort of see how the folks did individually between those two groups. But the party tells me that they're going to continue reporting the way they have been reporting, and they don't have any plans to change the reporting process at this time.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    And at the time they were filing this, the results were quite narrow or the margin was quite narrow between him and Mr. Biden or Vice President President Biden for the second-place slot.

  • Megan Messerly:

    That's correct. And they even noted that in their letter they in fact asked the party to address these irregularities and correct these errors that they have identified before releasing the final results. And they noted that's because it appears to be a close race between Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, but a judge. Obviously, big stakes here for Pete Buttigieg. He's been trying to prove that he is able to appeal to Nevada's broad, diverse constituency. So a victory, even a second place victory is important for him here.So that's why sort of the immediacy of sending this letter late last night to the state party.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    So are people considering this is perhaps a question more for the party or people considering what's happened in Iowa, considering a little bit of the confusion that happened in Nevada. The people that you spoke to or are they still supportive of the idea of caucuses to do this the way that they're doing it versus just having a primary?

  • Megan Messerly:

    Right. That was one of the questions that I asked a lot of people yesterday because there was a lot of elation. A lot of smiles. Everyone was so happy at how well this iPad had worked. They told me they were excited about the deliberative caucus process. And so my question then was, well, should we keep having a caucus? And everyone I spoke to told me "no." That we should definitely switch to a primary. They were happy that the caucus went well yesterday, but it did not go well enough to change their minds about the fact that we should have a primary. A lot of people told me they just felt like it would be easier to have a government-run primary with traditional voting machines voting booths. Wouldn't it be easier to ensure that integrity of the results?

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    We've heard a lot about different constituencies that turned out for Bernie Sanders. What did you notice when it came to the younger people that were voting?

  • Megan Messerly:

    Obviously, we've seen a lot of support from young folks for Bernie Sanders. I think the notable thing for us, for me and my colleagues who are fanning out at voting sites and at events all across the state was how that's how young people support for Bernie Sanders translate to their family members. We've heard a lot about Tio Bernie. A lot of young Latino voters supporting Bernie Sanders were able to sort of bring along their parents and their grandparents. And we actually saw quite a few older folks supporting Bernie Sanders as well, which we weren't exactly expecting. But I think what Bernie Sanders was hoping for yesterday was to prove that he could build this multi-generational, you know, diverse coalition. And the entrance polls that we've seen seemed to suggest that he was able to do that.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right. Megan Messerly from The Nevada Independent, thanks so much.

  • Megan Messerly:

    Thank you.

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