Obama campaign cites Nevada vote Irregularities
US Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign on Sunday said that it had received reports of voting irregularities in Nevada's nominating caucuses, which were won by rival Hillary Clinton.
Spokesmen for Obama's campaign told reporters that a Clinton party handout urged registration lines for the caucuses Saturday to close at 11:30 am, whereas state party rules said anyone in line until 12:00 pm was to be allowed to participate.
"Despite clear rules and timelines laid out by the Nevada Democratic Party that caucus doors should remain open and voter registration should continue until noon, the Clinton campaign encouraged their operatives to close the caucus doors at 11:30 am, a half hour before that deadline," said spokesman Bill Burton.
"This caused confusion and led to people leaving the caucuses before having the chance to participate."
Clinton won the state's nominating contest with 51 percent of the vote, while Obama received 45 percent. The victory increased the former first lady's lead over Obama, after she also won the New Hampshire primary on January 8.
Obama won the Democrats' first nominating caucuses in Iowa at the beginning of the month. His campaign called for a full review of the Nevada vote but insisted it was not calling into question the results.
"We found an unusually high number of reports that the Clinton campaign was insisting that 11:30 was the deadline," said general counsel Bob Bauer, adding that at least 300 complaints had come in.
"We are not calling the results into question at all. We want to make sure this doesn't happen again," Bauer said.
"We are going to notify the Nevada Democratic party that we want a full review of this, and make sure we have in front of us a full picture to make sure this behavior is highlighted and discouraged in the future."
Asked by reporters why an early close would have particularly affected Obama supporters, Bauer said "a campaign that departs from the rules and disenfranchises voters has to be held accountable for that."
He added: "We care about all the voters who would have been affected by this rule."
According to the Nevada Democratic Party rules: "Caucus registration will remain open until viability is determined by 12:00 pm."
Burton sent reporters an email containing what he described as the contents of the Clinton campaign precinct captain handbook, which said 11:30 am was the "deadline for registering (or standing in line to register) to participate in the caucus."
It also said 11:30 am was the time when the "caucus chair closes doors and announces attendance."
Contacted for comment, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said the New York senator's campaign planned to hold its own press conference at 6:15 pm.