Months of campaigning, hundreds of organizers and millions of voter contact attempts have been poured into Nevada communities by the cast of 2016 presidential hopefuls and their campaigns, all toward one goal: emerging the victor of the caucuses.
For these candidates, the caucus is the first and most important step in securing their party’s nomination. Historically, voters age 18-24 have voted at lower rates than any other age group, according to Census data. This is the year to break the trend. If you want your voice to be heard and your needs to be addressed by the most powerful politician in the nation, you have to show up.
Yes, caucusing takes time. Yes, the process can be confusing. But the fact is this: the 2016 election is pivotal for the future of young people in Nevada and beyond. As a college student, you must embrace your political power and do the work to ensure that the candidate whose policies you feel are in your best interest gets one step closer to the Oval Office.
The stakes are high in this election. Access to health care, the ability to pay for (or pay off) the cost of college and the prospect of finding a job after graduation are just a few issues that can change the course of a student’s life. You may not feel that you have a voice in politics, but that sentiment could not be further from the truth. If there is one lesson to take away from Nevada’s caucus predecessor, Iowa, it is that every single vote matters in determining a winner. Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by two delegates and 0.3 percent of the vote; Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump by one delegate and 3.3 percent of the vote.
Seriously: Every. Vote. Matters.
Especially in Washoe County, where the results are largely unpredictable, your presence on caucus day could very well mean the difference between your preferred candidate earning a needed delegate or losing to their competitor. If you care about your future and the future you want for your country, here’s what you need to know to take action:
When: Saturday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m.
Where: Caucus locations are determined by the precinct you are registered in. To find your caucus location, go to nvdems.com/caucus/locations/.
Who can caucus: Any person who will be age 18 by Nov. 8, 2016, and is registered as a Democrat in Washoe County. You can register at your caucus location on Feb. 20, or online at registertovotenv.gov.
How to make the process suck less: Pre-register online at caucus.nvdems.com. Pre-registering will allow you to access the express check-in line and save precious weekend time.
Don’t forget: Viability is determined at 12 p.m., so if you’re not on time you will not be allowed to participate.
When: Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 5 p.m.
Where: Caucus locations are determined by the precinct you are registered in. To find your caucus location, go to nevadagopcaucus.org/find-my-location.html.
Who can caucus: Any person who will be age 18 by Nov. 8, 2016, and is registered as a Republican in Washoe County. However, the cutoff for registering as a Republican was Feb. 13.
How to make the process suck less: Surprise! This caucus is really more of a primary in disguise, so it’s not too bad at all. Just be sure to stay on top of what precinct you need to caucus in.
Don’t forget: Caucus proceedings begin at 6 p.m.
To become more familiar with each party’s process, attend a caucus training. The Democratic Party of Washoe County hosts trainings at its headquarters on 1465 Terminal Way every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For a full list of times, go to washoedems.org. The Washoe County Republican Party is also hosting caucus trainings at its headquarters on 3652 S. Virginia St. on Feb. 20, times of which can be found at washoegop.org/calendar.
Now is the time to stand with your neighbors (literally and figuratively). Now is the time to speak up for your future. Now is the time to caucus.
The editorial staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.