A special non-Sabbath voting session for observant Jews and Seventh Day Adventists in the GOP primaries will be held Saturday evening at an educational center built by Sheldon Adelson, who backs Newt Gingrich, and challengers are upset.
The voting is scheduled for the Sabbath, but Adelson, a casino magnate who made billions in Las Vegas and elsewhere, voiced his concern that Jews observing the Sabbath – and who presumably back Gingrich – would not be able to vote. Seventh Day Adventists also observe the Sabbath on Saturday
The word spread quickly that Adelson was upset, and the state decided to allow a special polling station after the Sabbath ends on Saturday.
However, the polling location is none other than the Adelson Educational center, a choice that has set off an angry response from opponents’ camps, particularly that of Ron Paul. His Nevada campaign director Carl Bunce told the Las Vegas Sun, “The Sheldon Adelson ties are troubling. It’s his private school, and it happened in the last two weeks, conveniently. It’s ridiculous. You can’t change the rules midstream.”
The camp of Mitt Romney was not critical but expressed concern about the integrity of the voting.
Adelson has poured $10 million into Gingrich's campaign coffers via a Political Action Committee (PAC). His influence in the state is enormous because thousands of residents work for his casinos.
When he heard about the problem of Jews voting on the Sabbath, “He let his voice be known,” one party official told the Sun. “He wasn’t calling up my cell or (Clark County Chairman) Dave Gibbs and asking for this to be done, but he let people know he was upset with it, and word travels fast.”
Gibbs maintained that the Adelson campus was chosen only because “it was free…, … available; and … big enough. That’s it.”
Nevada is the fifth state to hold Republican party primaries to vote for a nominee for the GOP’s summer convention, and 10 more states are to stage voting in early March.
Twitter and Google will play their first important role in the reporting of the results from Nevada Saturday evening. Results will be mapped by Google, the results will be released on Twitter.