Nevada Democratic Convention: Stories of Voter Suppression

nevada convention

Bernie Sanders’ delegates found their demand for a recount denied without a vote at the Nevada Democratic Convention on Saturday. Now they’re looking into legal options. (Getty)

The Nevada Democratic Convention lasted for at least 16 hours on Saturday, but ended even more controversially than it began. The Convention began with a highly debated decision to change the Convention rules despite not getting the needed majority of vocal votes. But at the end of the night, when a motion was made to recount the delegates, the chair of the Convention closed out the meeting without even giving the delegates’ a chance to say “nay.” Now it’s looking like legal action will be the next step. (To see a full livestream from Saturday’s convention, see our post here.)

Here’s what you need to know.

A Motion Was Made for a Delegate Recount Late at Night, but the Chair Overruled Everything Without Waiting for Nay Votes

Several motions were put on the floor near the end of the Nevada convention, including a motion for a recount of the delegates. This motion was seconded and would have gone up for a vote, but everything was stopped short by Roberta Lange, the Nevada State Democratic Chair. It happens in the video above, right around the 4:00 mark.

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 on his video.

“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.

The Convention is not reconvening tomorrow, it was announced. Instead, protestors will have to pursue legal avenues.

“It was politically heartbreaking to see,” one person told Llanes on his livestream feed. “This is supposed to be about … bringing us together… We didn’t get any voice… Nothing… There were a chunk of Bernie supporters who would have supported Hillary. Would have. But when you divide the room the way they did…”

The Controversies Started When a Rule Change Was Adopted in the Morning, Despite Not Having a Vocal Majority

The Convention began on a negative note when controversial temporary rules were adopted. 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.

A vocal vote was held to determine if these temporary rules should be adopted as permanent. The rules were voted on through a vocal “aye” or “nay,” led by Roberta Lange, the party’s chairwoman. The video above shows the voice vote, which doesn’t clearly show a majority. On Reddit, a person who was watching from a different part of the room said that the nays were almost as loud as the ayes, and it was very difficult to tell who had the majority.

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.

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.

At this point, things got very heated. Sanders supporters yelled that the Convention was fixed and at least one Clinton supporter yelled “arrest them!” You can see some of the protests in the video below:

But when the demand for a recount grew, the lights in the convention were turned off and the sound was turned up:

Sanders supporters booed the convention and the voice count, which they felt was not accurate. Later reports claimed that Sanders supporters had also booed Nina Turner, Ohio State Senator, but this was not true. Turner herself took to Twitter to clear up the misunderstanding:

Clinton Netted Two More Delegates at the Convention

Hillary Clinton gained two more delegates at the Nevada Democratic Convention on Saturday, where 12 delegates were up for grabs. Although Clinton won the Nevada caucus, Sanders won additional delegates at the Nevada county conventions in March. However, those wins were negated during the convention on Saturday.

Nevada’s rules on delegates can get a little confusing. The first round of voting (the first tier) takes place during the Nevada caucus itself, which Clinton won. The second round of voting takes place at the county conventions. Not enough of her delegates showed up for those, and Sanders won more delegates because of this. At the state convention, the rules were changed to award delegates based solely on round one and not round two.

Because Sanders had been allotted more delegates to attend the Nevada convention, the Las Vegas Sun reported, his supporters believed he would get the majority of the 12 delegates who were going to be chosen. But in the end, Clinton walked away with seven delegates and Sanders walked away with five. Clinton had already been apportioned 13 district-level delegates to Sanders’ 10, as a result of the Nevada caucuses. So in total, Clinton will have 20 delegates from Nevada at the Democratic National Convention and Sanders will have 15.

Sixty-Four Sanders Supporters Were Denied Delegate Status

A big point of contention during the state convention was why 64 Sanders supporters were denied delegate status (six of whom were later admitted.) Because there were 1,693 delegates and alternates counted for Clinton and 1,662 for Sanders, those extra 64 could have given Sanders the majority and netted him additional delegates.

State party representatives said the people in question were denied delegate status because their records couldn’t be located or they weren’t registered as Democrats by May 1. Eight Clinton supporters were also denied delegate status. A minority report was written about the delegates’ being left out, stating that they weren’t given a chance to demonstrate to the committee that they were registered Democrats. The report will be passed along to the Democratic National Committee, but their status won’t be revisited at the state convention itself.

Some Sanders Supporters Are Saying They Can’t Support Clinton Now and Are Protesting on Sunday Morning

The #BernieorBust movement has been strong for quite a while, with a number of Sanders supporters saying they won’t vote for Clinton if she gets the nomination, even if it means the Democrats don’t win the general election. Supporters who attended the Nevada convention or watched the progress throughout the day are saying they feel even more strongly about this now.

At one point near the end of the night, a speaker at the convention asked if Democrats were still united, and he was answered with a series of “boos” from the crowd.

A protest will be taking place tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Democratic National Convention building. Michael N. Huff, an attorney, has announced that he is doing pro bono work for some people who encounter legal problems connected to the election.