April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current
February 1, 2024
More than 112,800 Nevadans have already cast ballots in the state’s presidential preference primary, despite the Democratic winner being a foregone conclusion and the Republican winner having no chance at securing delegates from a political party that has rejected the legislatively-mandated election.
The vast majority of votes — 100,298 — were cast via mail ballot; 12,567 were cast in person at early voting centers across the state. The mail ballot count is as of Wednesday morning. The in-person tally is as of close of polls Tuesday.
In-person early voting runs until Friday.
Election Day for the presidential preference primary is Tuesday, Feb. 6. Mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day but received by a county clerk by 5 p.m. on Feb. 10 will be counted.
President Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee for Democrats, however there are a dozen candidates challenging him on Nevada’s primary ballot. Most prominent among them is self-help author and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson.
Nikki Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, is the most prominent active candidate participating in Nevada’s Republican primary.
Former President Donald Trump is participating in the party-run caucus being held on Feb. 8, two days after the state-run primary. The Nevada Republican Party, which is headed by a recently indicted “fake elector” accused of forging documents in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election, opted to host a caucus despite the passage of a state law requiring a presidential primary be held. The political party will only use the outcome of the caucus to determine delegate allocation.
According to media reports, when asked in New Hampshire why she opted for Nevada’s primary over the caucus, Haley responded, “Talk to the people in Nevada: They will tell you the caucuses have been sealed up, bought and paid for a long time. That’s the Trump train rolling through that. But we’re going to focus on the states that are fair.”
Haley has all but ignored Nevada, visiting only once for a Republican Jewish Coalition attended by nearly all presidential hopefuls. Following the New Hampshire primary, the Haley campaign shifted focus to her home state of South Carolina, which will hold its primary on Feb. 24.
As the only major Republican candidate in the race, Haley appears poised to win, though Nevada ballots do include a “none of these candidate” option, which may be used by some as a proxy vote for Trump.
One prominent Republican, Gov. Joe Lombardo has said he will be voting “none of the above” in the primary and caucusing for Trump.
In the caucus, Trump faces only one token challenger, Ryan Binkley.
Election administrators and voting advocates are concerned Nevada’s dual primary-caucus may confuse voters and further fuel disinformation about the integrity of the state’s democratic process.
The secretary of state’s office said it did not know the exact number of phone calls and emails it has received regarding Trump not appearing on the Republican primary ballot, but a spokesperson acknowledged that it is “the top issue we get called about.”
Staff has been directed to inform those reaching out that only candidates who filed for the presidential preference primary are appearing on the ballot.
“Former President Trump did not file for the Presidential Preference Primary, and is instead participating in the party-run Republican caucus,” their responses read. “The state has no involvement with the caucus and as such has no additional information on that process.”
For additional information about Nevada’s presidential preference primary, visit the secretary of state’s website or your local county election office.
For information about the GOP-run caucus, visit NevadaGOP.org
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