In Ne­vada, precinct with 0 votes was a sin­gu­lar puz­zle

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - NATION & WORLD - By Scott Son­ner

Nev. — What if a neigh­bor­hood precinct was vot­ing in Ne­vada’s pres­i­den­tial cau­cuses and no­body came?

Democrats in one county were left scratch­ing their heads about the pos­si­bil­ity they had stum­bled onto a phan­tom precinct dur­ing the party’s third-in-the-na­tion pres­i­den­tial con­test.

Not only did no one cast a bal­lot dur­ing early vot­ing in precinct No. 7321, but noout, body from there showed up to par­tic­i­pate at Feb. 22’s cau­cus site at the Univer­sity of Ne­vada, Reno, where hun­dreds gath­ered from six other precincts in Washoe County.

Wor­ried about the po­ten­tial for a melt­down like the one that de­layed of­fi­cial re­sults in Iowa, site leader Austin Daly said they were pre­pared for the pos­si­bil­ity of glitches with the iPads that were used to tab­u­late re­sults or other soft­war­ere­lated emer­gen­cies.

“And I ex­pected big turnRENO, but never thought there would be a precinct with zero votes,” said Daly, head of the UNR Young Democrats.

Amy Travis, a Bernie San­ders sup­porter from a neigh­bor­ing precinct, was given the task of fill­ing in the “ze­ros” next to all the can­di­dates’ names in precinct 7321.

But she thought it was strange.

She looked up a map of the precinct on her cell­phone and found it con­sists en­tirely of a 600-acre county park just west of the Reno cam­pus.

It turns out there is one reg­is­tered voter who lives at the lone res­i­dence in the precinct: a park em­ployee.

The em­ployee didn’t re­turn mes­sages from The As­so­ci­ated Press seek­ing com­ment.

Robert Hol­land, ranger of Rancho San Rafael Re­gional Park, con­firmed the em­ployee lives at the res­i­dence that’s part of an old fron­tier ranch homestead, which can be rented for wed­dings and other special events.

State party of­fi­cials de­ter­mined the precinct’s lone del­e­gate would be recorded as “un­com­mit­ted” at the precinct cau­cus level but does not ad­vance to the next round at the county con­ven­tion.

Hav­ing few or no reg­is­tered vot­ers in precincts is not as un­usual as it sounds in sparsely pop­u­lated Ne­vada.

In fact, 108 of Washoe County’s 555 precincts have no reg­is­tered vot­ers, county Reg­is­trar of Vot­ers Deanna Spikula said last week.

SCOTT SON­NER/AP

Rancho San Rafael Re­gional Park near Reno makes up an en­tire vot­ing precinct, where just one per­son, a park em­ployee, lives.

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