Rural caucusing comes to Pyramid Lake Jr/High School

NIXON, Nev. (KOLO) - At the Pyramid Lake Junior and High School on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Reservation voters from the communities of Nixon and Sutcliffe signed in, and if too early, were told to come back by noon to caucus.

Some waited at cafeteria tables instead.

We talked to them about what issues were important and what they were looking for in a candidate.

“Longevity,” says Carla Eben. “Somebody who is going to be there. One of them I am worried about age. And then who will replace him? So I am really undecided," she says.

“We need better law enforcement,” says Mervin Wright. “We need greater substance abuse services. Everything every other community deals with, we deal with it. Only it is on a magnitude a lot higher,” he says.

This area has a particular importance, especially when it comes to voting.

Back in 2016 members of the tribe had asked for, but did not receive early voting sites on their reservation.

It takes nearly 100 miles round trip from here to cast a vote in Reno.

They sued and won.

Because of tribal customs, members predicted a smaller turnout on caucus day as opposed to early voting.

Early voting was more personal, easier, and less demonstrative they said.

Still 14 people showed up here to school. Some just in time.

We were not allowed to watch the process in the school's gym. Instead we looked through the gym’s glass doors. In the end we got to see the results.

Sanders taking 3 delegates, Warren with one. In one precinct, no one early voted and no one showed up. That meant no delegates were awarded.

The caucus maps it appears had chopped up the communities at Pyramid Lake.

Some stayed in the area. But others were relegated to schools nearly an hour away.

”I think there were at least three people that we had to turn away,” said Justin Zuniga, who served as both a precinct chairman and site leader. “And then one who showed up. I don't think they had enough time to make it into town,” he said.

Zuniga says he hopes the Democratic Party considers making changes for 2024.

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