Anecdotal reports abound of heavy turnout at Democratic caucus sites and confusion evident over which site is the correct one for caucus-goers. Calls are flooding into the Nevada Democratic Party call-in center at the Cashman Center near downtown. Turnout could easily top the 40,000 state party operatives set as a goal of "successful" turnout.
Early results show Hillary Clinton leading in vote-rich Clark County but running neck-and-neck with Barack Obama statewide. Eighty percent of likely turnout to come from metropolitan Las Vegas (Clark County) and Reno.
One source of confusion: there are more tan 1,700 precincts but only 520 caucus locations. That means several precincts conduct caucuses at the same location. High schools, for example are conducting one precinct caucus in the cafeteria, another in the auditorium and another in the gymnasium. In rare instances, precinct caucuses will be held outside on the a high school football field. As you can appreciate, moving people to the proper caucus site would be a big chore for caucus volunteers well-versed in the precinct machinery. It could prove frustrating and paralyzing for people pressed into service at the last minute who are unfamiliar with the rules, procedures and logistics.
This problem will not go away today and is likely to spark some grousing about the final results.
But it won't be the only grousing, I predict.
Early Fox entrance polls suggest Hillary Clinton may do well today, but those entrance polls do NOT reflect sentiments expressed by caucus-goers heading into the nine at-large precincts in casinos located on or near the Las Vegas Strip. Since the casinos are private property, entrance poll takers were not allowed to engage the rank-and-file casino shift workers heading into their caucuses.
Even so, Clinton had a nine-point lead going into the caucuses in the Review-Journal poll and there's no evidence yet -- in the entrance polls, precinct-by-precinct turnout reports, or turnout in the casino-based caucus sites -- to indicate she's lost that much ground to Obama in the closing hours.
Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.