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April 19, 2014

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Ruling on Strip voting looks likely today

6 percent of state delegates could be at stake

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2008 Caucus Coverage

The dispute threatening to undermine Nevada’s caucus is likely to be ruled on today as a U.S. District Court judge considers a legal challenge to plans to provide at-large caucus sites designed for workers on the Strip.

The state Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee filed legal arguments Wednesday opposing the lawsuit, which seeks to prevent nine casino caucus sites from operating during Saturday’s Democratic caucus because they give casino workers, mostly members of the Culinary Union, an unfair advantage over other caucusgoers across the state.

The state party and the national committee are fighting the lawsuit on several grounds, including the last-minute nature of the challenge. “By sitting on their hands until a few days before the caucus ... plaintiffs have forfeited any claim,” the response said, citing a doctrine that bars abusive 11th-hour challenges.

The response also notes that four of the plaintiffs voted in favor of the plan to create the at-large sites. The lawsuit was filed by five Democrats and the Nevada State Education Association, the teachers union.

The state and national parties also argue that political parties have a right to structure their own delegate selection procedures.

The case will be heard by Judge James C. Mahan.

William Curran, attorney for the state party, said he expects the judge to rule today.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit Friday, two days after the Culinary endorsed Sen. Barack Obama. The union represents many Strip workers.

Former President Clinton stepped up his criticism of at-large precincts Wednesday, arguing that votes there would be worth five times those at off-Strip sites. He repeated that neither he nor his wife’s campaign had anything to do with the lawsuit.

The state party said it expects 6 percent of the total delegates in the state the numbers of which will determine winners and losers in the caucus to come from the Strip sites.

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