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LAS VEGAS - Dozens of Latinos showed up at Rancho High School to caucus Saturday on a day meant more for being outside than sitting in a presidential caucus.
Despite the competition from the beckoning weather, long lines quickly formed with Democratic caucus goers, those who had registered early and those who registered on site as allowed by Nevada law.
Because it was a school, those who turned out filed into classrooms and sat at school desks before separating for their candidates. At least one group was lucky enough to get a room with theater chairs.
Guillermo Jimenez, 25, arrived with his wife and two children to participate. He said he had been apolitical until Bernie Sanders “made his appearance through social media and it really made me change my political stance.”
“I feel great. It’s making a great impact and hopefully our kids are able to enjoy this movement that we’re trying to make,” said Jimenez, who was a first time caucus goer.
There has been a lot of focus on how Latinos would vote in this election. Clinton was a favorite in the community and won solid support from it in 2008.
But enthusiasm from Bernie Sanders supporters and his win in New Hampshire and close finish in Iowa had helped him make an incursion into that support.
About 17 percent of the electorate in Nevada is Latino.
In Jimenenz's precinct’s caucus, the caucus goers split 30-29 for Sanders, he said, giving them both six delegates.
At times things could be a little chaotic. In one precinct with a high number of Latinos, the volunteer precinct chairman spoke only in English and was getting little response when he asked for a volunteer to be secretary.
There was urging from some in the room for translation, including from Rocky De La Fuente, a San Diego businessman who is on the ballot as a Democratic candidate for president. A Hillary supporter stepped in and provided translation.
That precinct voted 43-29 for Clinton, giving Clinton 13 delegates to Sanders’ eight. The tally was announced but would need to be officially confirmed later.
To count the vote, caucusgoers were taken into a more spacious hallway, but once the tally was announced they were allowed to leave. That left some confusion as caucus workers tried to corral people back in to pick those who might serve as county delegates.
At times translations became an issue in some locations. Dolores Huerta, a civil rights activist and icon who is a Clinton backer, was helping to translate when according to Huerta and actress and activist America Ferrera, Huerta was shouted down by some Sanders backers shouting 'English Only.' The tweet quickly made headlines.
About an hour after everyone filed out, NBC News had projected a win by Clinton in the state. Though the voting results are still being counted, the Nevada Caucus Exit Poll showed that Latinos voted for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton by 53 percent to 45 percent. A New York Times analysis suggests that districts with higher numbers of Latinos, such as in Clark County, voted for Hillary Clinton.