Nevada: Shennanigans and Results
The South Carolina Primary held on the same day is getting much more press, but Nevada has more delegates at stake. South Carolina also has a reputation as a state where dirty politics runs rampant, but it appears Nevada could teach SC more than a thing or two about election shennanigans.
The state party made major rule changes three times in the ten days leading up to the caucus. The reversals and mis-communications from the state party about who was allowed to vote and even where they would vote were so pervasive that 2nd place Republican finisher Ron Paul had called for the caucus to be postponed until the party could clear up all the miscommunication about who could participate and where they could do so.
For example, the party started out by insisting that only registered Republicans who could prove it would be allowed to vote for delegates. It was explained that campaigns could bus in voters from nearby California and swamp Nevadans if they did not have tight controls on who voted. OK, so no busloads. But then, days before the event, they reversed themselves and changed the rules so that practically anybody could show up and vote. Mormons from all over the state, and possibly beyond it, showed up in droves and voted for fellow Mormon Mitt Romney. Whichever campaign knew that change was coming had a huge advantage over those who did not- especially if they had a built in base nearby as did Romney.
There were numerous reports of Romney supporters voting more than once in precincts where Romney supporters controlled the process. Some counties were sent far too many ballots, others clearly too few. Mormons made up at least a quarter of the attendees. Were they showing up as Republicans or mostly because a Mormon was on the ballot? Well, the Republican vote was four times the Democratic turnout. That may not happen in any other state in the union except Utah. In addition a whopping 94% of Mormon voters supported Romney! Some in the media are quick to jump on people who won't vote for Romney because of his religion. What about those who won't vote for anybody BUT Romney because of their religion? They can't have it both ways, but they are trying.
The final tallies gave 51% to Romney. Ron Paul was a distant second with 14%, followed by John McCain with 13%. No other candidate scored double digits. Romney picked up 17 more delegates, Paul and McCain 4 more each.