NV Dems: Don’t worry, be happy

virtual caucus
Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy oulining the party's proposed 2020 changes to the presidential caucus process in March. (Nevada Current file photo)
virtual caucus
Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy oulining the party’s proposed 2020 changes to the presidential caucus process in March. (Nevada Current file photo)

Barbara Cegavske would like you to know she has absolutely nothing to do with Nevada’s Democratic presidential caucus.

There is no reason why Cegavske, Nevada’s Republican secretary of state, would. The caucus, like Monday’s ill-fated affair in Iowa, is not an election run by a government. It is a … well, it’s this thing, run by state parties.

Or not run by parties. Or at least not well, the result of which prompted Cegavske’s office to issue a statement Tuesday explaining that decisions about Nevada’s caucuses, “including the technology used to support the process,” are made by the parties, not the state, and any questions should be directed to the Nevada Democratic Party, not Cegavske’s office.

It sounds like Cegavske’s office was receiving some questions Tuesday.

So, of course, was the Nevada Democratic Party, which tried to get out in front of those questions early in the day by issuing a statement in which party chair William McCurdy said Nevada Democrats “can confidently say that what happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada on February 22.”

Nevada won’t be using the same now notoriously incorrectly coded app, or vendor, Shadow, Inc., as was used in Iowa, McCurdy added.

But Nevada Democrats were totally going to. Before Iowa.

So … between now and Feb. 22, the Nevada Democratic Party is going to find another developed app capable of tallying and reporting results of a byzantine political participation project that, this year, is conducted in only four states? (After Iowa and Nevada, the other two are Wyoming and North Dakota.)

“We’re working to evaluate the best plan forward,” Nevada Caucus Director Shelby Wiltz told KLAS TV’s Vanessa Murphy.

“So do you know which vendor, or it’s searching for a vendor now?” Murphy asked.

“We’re still working to evaluate the best plan forward,” Wiltz responded, staying on message like a pro.

Asked by Murphy when the party will be able to announce “this is our plan, here’s what we’re doing,” Wiltz said, “I don’t have a timeline for you right now,”

Fair enough. After all, as of Tuesday, Nevada’s “First in the West” caucus isn’t for another (checks calendar) 18 whole days.

And if there is any doubt that Nevada’s caucus will be run efficiently and effectively, which is to say not like Iowa’s, Nevada Democrats got a separate reassurance Tuesday:

Hopefully, Reid’s right, and whenever Democrats are done “working to evaluate the best plan forward,” it will be something — perhaps even something low-tech? — that creates no more than the usual frustration, confusion and chaos that accompanies the tortuous, convoluted and deeply undemocratic thing that is a presidential caucus.

And hopefully, this year will mark the last time any state will have one.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.