The caucus attracted three types of people: the democracy-in-action proselytizers who were thrilled to be there; the resigned skeptics who said they thought caucuses were silly but realized they had no other choice, if they wanted to vote in Nevada; and the thoroughly bewildered, who had no clue what they were supposed to do.
“I’m very nervous, and I don’t know what is happening,” said David Dial, 33, a nurse who had recently moved to Henderson from Miami. Wearing an Andrew Yang T-shirt even though Mr. Yang is no longer running for president, Mr. Dial pronounced the caucus process “weird.”
“In Florida, it’s a lot easier,” he said. “You just go and vote for someone.”
But across the room, Miriam Melton-Villanueva, a history professor, could not stop praising the meeting, the voting, the chance to engage politically with people she might never have met otherwise.
“The caucus system is the best,” she said. “This is us voting with our hearts and participating with our neighbors.”
The meeting settled down, with Connie Fielder, a retired elementary school teacher, presiding. She had undergone hours of training with the state Democratic Party, both in person and online.
She had checked that her party-issued iPad, which would perform the complex mathematical calculation used to decide how many delegates each candidate would get, was functioning and fully powered up. She had in front of her an exact script the party had given her for how to run the meeting. (“They’ve emailed the devil out of us,” Lewis Williams, a nurse who was overseeing the proceedings in the cafeteria, said earlier. “I think this is a very transparent process, as long as you bring your glasses.”)