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Heavy turnout at GOP caucus causes lines, delays

Pahrump saw a heavy voter turnout on Tuesday as a few thousand people took to the only GOP Caucus location in town, overflowing the site and leaving organizers scrambling for additional ballots.

The line at Rosemary Clarke School Middle School was stretched around the corner and along North Blagg Road. Doors opened at 5:35 p.m. and people started going to their precincts, however the caucus was delayed because of the large influx of voters all at once.

Leo Blundo, Nye County Republican Central Committee vice chairman, who was in precinct 16, said over 2,100 people showed up at the caucus, calling the turnout “phenomenal.”

“Our precinct had over 60 people show up which is excellent turnout. In 2013, we only had three people show up,” he said.

Blundo said while over 2,100 people showed up at the site, a confirmed ballot count was 1,468 in Pahrump. There were 1,743 cast countywide.

While all 21 Pahrump area precincts were located at Rosemary Clarke, organizers shuffled a few precincts around the building because of the large voter turnout to accommodate everyone.

“Some of the precincts are just going to have a higher turnout than others, and that’s just part of the equation,” said Bill Carns, Nye County Republican Central Committee chairman.

The line outside was long but was moving quickly, some voters said. First-time caucus-goer Valerie Iori, who stood in line at the solutions table, said she wasn’t frustrated about the wait.

“Right now, I haven’t been here long enough to be frustrated. I’m just following the crowd,” said Iori, who was planning to caucus for Marco Rubio.

“I’m excited to learn,” she said.

Pepper Jay and John Ferrari were filling out affidavits on one of the nearby tables after learning that their names weren’t on the list at their precinct. Both said they were going to vote for Donald Trump.

“I think that he is going to be an asset to our country,” Ferrari said about Trump. “I think he can stand up and speak for a lot of people. He doesn’t hesitate. He is always out there first with an opinion and he is not afraid to say it, and I think that attracts a lot of people,” he said.

Close to 7 p.m., organizers were printing out more ballots after they quickly ran out of them.

“The biggest issue and the biggest success was having such a surge of people show up and we overcame that with ease. We made it work,” Blundo said.

While some voters complained about the crowds, organizers said they were better prepared than in 2012.

“Organized, effective meeting, all the way through the caucus,” Blundo said. “It was planned.”

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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