By BYRON TAU – – – –
In Iowa, ties in the caucuses are settled with a coin toss. In Nevada? A card game, of course.
In Iowa, a tight race between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resulted in some caucus precinct winners being selected by coin toss.
Nevada provides for a similar process — with a Silver State twist. In a nod to the state’s long association with legalized gambling and the casino industry, the state Democratic Party provides for a process where a single card is drawn from a deck of cards. High card wins, with aces high.
In the event the same card is drawn by the supporters of both campaigns, the winner is decided by suit — with spades being the highest.
Nevada Democrats will participate in the state’s presidential caucuses today — with Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton locked a tight battle in the first western state to vote in the Democratic nominating process.
The Nevada Democratic caucuses operate under similar rules to the Iowa ones: voters in each precinct must go to caucus sites and form physical groups in support of their candidate. If a candidate does’t have enough support to meet a pre-determined viability threshold, his or her supporters must join another group.
Those precinct caucuses choose delegates that will attend regional and state conventions, where other delegates will be chosen to attend the Democratic National Convention later this year.
Because caucuses determine winners at the precinct level and turnout is often very low, the odds of ties are much higher than with a primary election where votes are counted statewide. Nevada runs about individual 250 caucuses across the state, while Iowa has about 1,700 precinct sites.