Yesterday, long after the rest of the Nevada caucus sites had closed for the night, a special caucus was setting up in Las Vegas. The reason for this irregularity was because the Nevada caucus was held on Saturday, which is regarded as the Sabbath by some religions. Since the voting site was a small, private Jewish school, the Republican Party had entrants sign a declaration stating that they were only voting at this site because observance of the Sabbath kept them away from the polls at earlier places.

However, Ron Paul volunteers had a plan to make use of this site to benefit their candidate. When they contacted supporters earlier in the day to ensure that they could get to the caucus sites, and the people told them that they had things to do, they advised them of the special caucus where they could vote in the evening. But then the voters had to sign a declaration when they arrived that they were only voting at this place because of religious reasons. Most of the Paul voters blithely signed the declaration, and proceeded into the caucus. So, because of the extra voters, the lines became very long, causing some caucus goers to wait up to 2 hours before they were able to enter.

Another interesting twist to this incident was that the person who developed this special meeting place was Sheldon Adelson, the man whose family has provided over $10 million to the Newt Gingrich campaign for the presidency. He set this up to show that the Republican Party was friendly to Jewish voters, hoping to get more of them to vote for the GOP in November than have done in recent elections. The Jewish school where the vote took place was founded by and named for Adelson, a casino owner, who is not an Orthodox Jew. But there Adelson proudly sat in the front of the room, even though, by his own rules it was illegal. So it was difficult for GOP officials to chastise the Paul voters who similarly blithely disregarded the declaration which they signed.

So, Ron Paul won this special caucus by a healthy amount, with 183 voters. This was followed by Romney with 61, Gingrich with 57, and Santorum with 16 votes.

What, if anything, should states learn from this process? Well, my guess is that the people who they wanted to show empathy for with this event, are now pretty perturbed. So, maybe if you want to pander to a special group, you should be pretty sure that there won’t be any mishaps. If the state party were really concerned about this issue, they should either move the caucus to a different day or, if they wanted to vote on a Saturday, have a primary with absentee ballots, much as South Carolina did.