Saturday’s Nevada Democratic Convention is now mired in controversy as reports from independent sources surfaced of delegate tampering and rule changes that ignored support for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and took away delegates he earned at county conventions in March.
The 16-hour convention began with a temporary rule change that was “passed” despite not receiving a clear majority of vocal votes, according to a report from Heavy:
Sanders supporters had been worried about these rules for weeks and had collected delegate signatures to seek changes to the rules. According to Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks, this rule change involved going with the delegate count from the first tier vote and ignoring the delegate count from the second tier, which Sanders had won.
If it’s not clear who gets the majority, then the convention is supposed to have a “vote of division of assembly,” reported Jason Llanes, who stayed at the convention all day, reporting live from Periscope. A division of assembly vote involves having people stand on either side of the room to indicate their vote, he said.
[Nevada Democratic State Chair Roberta] Lange, however, announced that the “ayes” won and that her decision could not be contested. The vote was taken at 9:30 a.m., while many delegates were still in line.
“The ruling by the chair is not debatable. It cannot be challenged, and I rule the rules have passed,” said Nevada State Democratic Chair Roberta Lange after the vote.
At the heart of the controversy is how the delegates ended up being allocated. Twelve delegates were up for grabs at the convention, even though Sanders picked up additional delegates at the Nevada county conventions in March. Those gains were essentially wiped out at the state convention, where Clinton picked up additional delegates.
The delegate allocation process can be a bit more confusing in caucus systems like Nevada. Each state party has its own rules, and in Nevada there are actually two rounds of voting. In the first round or tier (the caucus vote), Hillary Clinton edged Bernie Sanders 53% to 47% (rounded figures).
However, the second round of voting takes place at the county conventions, where as mentioned above Sanders picked up additional delegates since not enough Clinton delegates showed up. The controversial rule change negated round 2 completely.
After the vote, the convention floor broke into chaos:
— Rachel Avery (@rachelaveryy) May 14, 2016
An additional video taken at the convention was posted on Facebook to document the pandemonium that erupted toward the end of the convention when a motion was made for a recount of the delegates, was seconded, but Lange ended the convention abruptly before a full vote on the motion could be taken.
“Rachel Avery, who was at the Convention, told Heavy that before there was a chance for the motions to be voted on, Lange came on stage and voted herself into power to overrule the motions. “She made a motion, someone on her staff seconded it, called a vote final without hearing any nays,” Avery said.
Jason Llanes, who was also livestreaming the Convention all day, confirmed this…
“She (Lange) put in a new motion of her own, had someone second it, called for yays and nays and passed it before the nays even spoke,” he reported.”
Since the convention did not reconvene on Sunday, the only avenue for recourse is legal action, which will likely come from Bernie supporters who now argue that they had no voice at the convention. Stay tuned for further coverage of this issue.