Here’s how the caucus process works:
Show up at 8:45 am on a Saturday for a meeting that will begin at 9 am.
You receive a ballot.
The temporary chairperson, asks for a permanent chairperson. If none show an interest, the temporary chairperson becomes the permanent chairperson of the meeting.
Everyone from your precinct gets into a room. For every 50 registered Rebpublicans in your precinct, you are entitled to elect 1 delegate to go to the county-wide caucus. People nominate themselves, each may give a 2 minute speech about why he or she should be chosen. Votes are cast secretly, counted openly, the paperwork is done by the chairperson.
Next there are ballots for the “straw poll” or “presidential preference poll” as they are sometimes called. The delegate process decides who the Nevada voters will select, the presidential preference poll process is meaningless except as a set of numbers to release to the media, that will then be used by them to skew other primaries. Prior to voting, each candidate may be talked about positively for 2 minutes by someone in the room. The votes are cast in secret, the ballots are counted in public, by the people in the caucus.
The Democrats will generally meet in the same building and will start their caucuses at 11 am.
Information on where to caucus was sent out over these last few days by the local GOP in a non-descript mailer. The Democratic party is fighting to have caucuses in the casino’s themselves because there are so many strongly democratic voters who will be working at that time, and who are members of the powerful Las Vegas Culinary Workers Union. That union (something Johannes will be happy about, and I scratch my head over) has publicly endorsed Sen. Obama.
I really would like to attend a caucus as an observer. Hopefully that can happen. Perhaps afterwards, I could even go to one of those such meetings in one of the casinos to observe. So far 9 meeting places will be in casinos.
January 19 will be Nevada and So Carolina. Today, January 15 is Michigan. We may see Thompson confirmed or denied as a Red State candidate, and we may see Romney confirmed or denied in the state where he has so much name recognition built on his father’s political career. So far, Thomspon seems like a candidate who could pull something off. The fact that the Club for Growth backs him so strongly tells me that we have not yet seen what Fred Thompson can deliver in elections.
(writing from Las Vegas, Nevada)