LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Nevada Republicans will face two separate presidential contests next month, both with the same goal.
The GOP primary will be held on February 6, with the party’s caucus scheduled for just two days later, on February 8. This has led to some confusion over when and how Republicans should cast their primary ballots.
Some voters now asking, why there are two separate contests, and do they both matter?
FOX5 turned to the Clark County Registrar’s Office for answers.
A primary election, like the one being held on the 6th, is run by the Secretary of State’s Office and functions just like a general election. A 1911 law gives the state’s political parties the option of holding a primary or choosing their candidate by caucus.
Caucuses are meetings run by political parties that are held at the county, district, or precinct level. Some caucuses choose candidates by secret ballots, others divide themselves into groups according to their candidate preference. Undecided attendees also form a group. The decided groups then give speeches and lobby to lure others to their side. In the end, the candidate with the most caucus votes wins.
Candidates in the upcoming primary had to choose between running in the primary or going through the caucus process. The state GOP wouldn’t allow them to participate in both. This is why some top-tier GOP presidential candidates, including former President Donald Trump, won’t appear on the primary ballot. He and others opted to participate in the Nevada caucus.
Caucuses are the norm here in Nevada and have been for decades. However, that all changed in 2021 when former Governor Steve Sisolak signed a law making Nevada the first state in the Union to vote in the 2024 presidential primaries. It was a move opposed by Republicans. The state party still plans to select its choice for president via the caucus system, while the state moves forward with the new primary.
Most voting in the primary will have to be done in person. Absentee ballots are only available to active duty military and their families. ID will be required at the polls.
Nevada’s Democratic Party has also typically caucused in the past, but in the upcoming election, it will neither caucus nor hold a primary. That’s because President Joe Biden, as the incumbent president, is running unopposed.
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