Massive Turnout Expected at Nevada Caucuses

Elvis at Trump rally (Erik Kabik Photography / MediaPunch / IPX / AP)
Erik Kabik Photography / MediaPunch / IPX / AP

The Nevada Republican Party says that 41,000 people had pre-registered to attend Tuesday evening’s caucuses, meaning that turnout could approach 80,000, according to local political insider Jon Ralston of Ralston Reports.

More voters may turn out at the 130 caucus sites throughout the state. However, some may be disappointed if they registered after the February 10 cutoff date.

It is unclear which candidate would benefit from high turnout: in Iowa, high turnout was thought to benefit Donald Trump, but ended up helping Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) win decisively. Feb. 10 was after the New Hampshire primary before the South Carolina GOP debate, which saw Trump’s polls fall a bit.

Trump, perhaps fearing a well-organized Cruz effort on par with that seen in Iowa, is better prepared on the ground–and is already gaming the refs, notes David Drucker of the Washington Examiner, complaining to the state GOP about rumors that the Cruz campaigns intends to use smart phones to record voters at the caucus sites. In response, the party issued a reminder that filming or photographing the caucuses is forbidden, except by media, Ralston notes.

Many caucuses will open their doors by 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, and voting must be concluded by 9:00 p.m., though it will be completed earlier at some sites. The process is confusing and has run into technical difficulties in the past. Early this morning, Sen. Marco Rubio warned supporters that their caucus site is not necessarily the same place where they vote in the general election in November. (Caucuses are run by parties, and elections by the state.)

It is unclear when the first results will be known. Counting could take the process well into the night, and even into the next day. Given Trump’s wide poll lead, the winner may be known soon, but the race for second place may not.