DNC chairman Perez downplays caucus reporting concerns: ‘We’re in great shape’

LAS VEGAS -- Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez told Fox News minutes before the start of the caucuses in Nevada on Saturday that he is optimistic the results could be reported before the end of the day.

In the wake of the reporting debacle three weeks ago at the Iowa caucuses due to a technical glitch, Nevada Democrats scrambled to avoid a repeat -- quickly dropping an app made by the same developer that created the one used in Iowa. The state party also made a last-minute move on the eve of the caucuses to drop the use of a Google application to transmit the results from the precincts to party officials.

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Asked if he was concerned, Perez told Fox News: “I think we’re in great shape.”

Pointing to the 75,000 ballots cast during early voting last Saturday through Tuesday, the national chairman said, “We have all of the early vote results distributed to the caucus sites. People are checking now….I think it’s going to be a really exciting day.”

But a campaign source from one of the presidential campaigns told Fox News that four caucus sites didn’t have complete early voting data at the start of Saturday’s caucuses.

Perez touted the strong early voting turnout, saying “the overwhelming early vote was a wonderful thing for our democracy. It made the processing a little more challenging. That’s a good problem for us to have. And that’s why nobody on the Nevada party team or the DNC team, none of us got a lot of sleep the last couple of nights, but that’s fine."

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Earlier this week Perez cautioned that results may not be released by the end of Saturday.

But asked on Saturday by Fox News if results would be reported by the end of the day, Perez said, “That’s our goal. Our goal is to get results out as soon as possible but first and foremost to get it right. What we don’t know right now is what will the participation levels be. So that will determine obviously the timing of the results. Nobody can predict what it will be today. I hope it will continue to be great.”

What he was hoping to predict, though, was turnout: “I think we’re on pace to set a record. We set a record in New Hampshire and we like to keep setting records for participation.”

The chaos in Iowa has led many to call for the scrapping of caucuses and move 100 percent to primary elections.

Asked if he favored such a move, Perez said “I will certainly work hard to make sure we have a conversation as the DNC about the continuing role of caucuses. We had that conversation. We passed some reforms that resulted in our going to from 14 caucus states in ’16 to 7 in 2020.”

But he cautioned that “we can’t wave a magic wand and require states to become a primary state because you have to pass a state law….it’s easier said than done.”

Fox News' Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.