# Caucus Math Is Hard!

Earlier today, a Nevada district judge rejected the lawsuit trying to shut down the "at-large" caucuses that will take place in Vegas hotels this Saturday.

(Quick background: The suit was filed by the Nevada State Education Association, whose leadership includes some prominent Hillary supporters. The Obama campaign questioned the timing of the suit, given that most people expected to participate in the at-large caucuses are culinary workers whose union endorsed Obama last week. More here .)

In the at-large precincts, the number of delegates allotted depends on turnout: If turnout is lower than 400, divide the number of people who show up by five to get the number of delegates. If 401 to 600 show up, divide it by eight. If 601 to 800 show up, divide it by 10. And so on, until you get to more than 4,000 people, in which case you divide by 50. No matter what, the number of delegates will hover around 80, with a maximum of 93.

Even in this extreme case of high turnout statewide and low turnout in at-large caucuses, the disparity between the caucus-goers’ influence—5-to-1 as opposed to 7-to-1—isn’t huge. In all likelihood, the reality will be somewhere in between.

So, why does Bill Clinton say that at-large caucus-goers would have five times as much influence as others? My guess is he’s comparing the 5-to-1 ratio (calculated above) with the 50-to-1 ratio among other precincts. But this doesn’t take into account the fact that not all registered Democrats turn out for caucuses. In fact, very few do. (Some Iowa estimates predicted 17 percent turnout among eligible caucus-goers.) That means that while there's only one delegate per 50 registered Democratic voters, the ratio of delegates to actual caucus-goers will be much higher.

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