This was supposed to be the Nevada GOP’s year of redemption, a chance for Republicans to have a prominent role in picking a challenger for President Barack Obama four years after bungling its first attempt to turn the state into a major player in presidential politics. But 2012 has not gone as planned. It’s now anyone’s guess as to how soon a Nevada victor will be declared after Saturday’s caucuses. Voting in all but one caucus – a special, late-evening one for Jewish voters in Clark County that is expected to draw fewer than 300 people – will end by 3 p.m. Pacific time. Most of Nevada’s counties will be through with voting by noon. But the state GOP doesn’t plan to release any results until 5 p.m., which could raise questions about the validity of the count.
It also won’t release results from Clark County, the state’s most populous and home to more than half of all Republicans, until after 7 p.m. The special caucus itself has the Mitt Romney and Ron Paul campaigns inquiring with the state party about the possibility of voter fraud. Nevada Republican officials have said they will ensure that no one votes twice. But concerns remain that the procedures and the delay in reporting the results will diminish the attention the contest receives from East Coast-based media outlets, given the three-hour time difference.
“We need to look like we know what we are doing,” said David Buell, chair of the Washoe County GOP, who has called on party leaders to release the results as they trickle in. The Nevada GOP last week announced a partnership with Twitter and Google in hopes of allowing the party to release results instantly on the Internet.