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Caucuses to be held Saturday, Tuesday in Boulder City

Residents of Boulder City will have their chance to voice who they want to represent their political party in the upcoming presidential election as the Democratic and Republican parties host their caucuses in the coming days.

On Saturday, the Democratic caucus begins at 11 a.m. in the Boulder City High School cafeteria, 1101 Fifth St. According to Kiernan McManus, president of the Boulder City Democratic Club, participants must be checked in by noon or they will not be able to vote.

McManus said participants will be divided into their precincts for the initial voting.

"It's our only opportunity to voice our opinions for our Democratic candidates for president," McManus said. "It's the opportunity for people to decide whether it is Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton that they would like to see as our candidate."

Caucuses are held in lieu of a primary election. During the caucus, participants select delegates who will represent them at the next level of voting. In order for a delegate to represent his or her candidate at the national convention, he or she must first be voted through the county and state conventions.

"There is a math formula to be done to determine how many delegates each candidate will get based on the number of participants they have," McManus said.

The Republican Party will host its caucus at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Boulder City High School cafeteria as well.

According to Republican Site Manager Maraya Evans, participants will check in, go to an area designated for their preferred candidate and receive a paper ballot to cast their vote.

At 6 p.m. there will be an optional precinct meeting where anyone will be able to speak for up to two minutes about their preferred presidential candidate. At 7 p.m. delegate elections start and anyone who gets nominated will have two minutes to give a speech.

"I caucused for the first time in 2008 and I was not involved in politics at all at that point. I thought it was a great way to see how the process works and to see how you become a delegate in the national convention," Evans said.

Though both parties hold caucuses to select delegates, there are differences.

According to McManus, the Democrats have a position called the temporary chair in each precinct that gives candidate representatives a chance to speak, hoping to sway undecided voters. Additionally, if a group is found unviable, meaning members' preferred candidate has fewer than 15 percent of the total number of people attending, temporary chairs can attempt to sway their decisions in favor of a different candidate. Or, those in the unviable group can just observe the process or leave.

At the Republican caucus no one tries to influence anyone's votes and voters decide who to elect themselves, according to Evans.

To register to vote, visit nvsos.gov/index.aspx?page=703 or register at the door the day of the caucus.

— Contact reporter Juan Diego Pergentili at jpergentili@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @jdpbcreview.

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