How to Follow Voting Results in Republican Nevada Caucuses

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Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas on February 22. He is poised to win his party's caucuses in Nevada later on Tuesday. Jim Young/Reuters

Updated | Nevada is the fourth state to host a Republican presidential caucus or primary since the nominating events began earlier this month.

The GOP field dwindled to five candidates over the weekend after former Florida Governor Jeb Bush suspended his campaign following a weak turnout in the party's South Carolina primary. Nevada Republicans will suggest who they want to succeed Barack Obama to become the 45th president of the United States—real estate mogul Donald Trump, senators Marco Rubio of Florida or Ted Cruz of Texas, Ohio Governor John Kasich or retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Front-runner Trump seems poised to land his third consecutive win, following his victories in the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. But the battle for second remains to be known. Rubio and Cruz are vying to become their party's alternative to the former reality TV star, following close finishes in South Carolina. Some polls show they also are running close in Nevada.

How Do the Republican Nevada Caucuses Work?

The state's caucuses are neighborhood meetings of Republicans who come together to discuss the candidates, nominate the presidential hopeful of their choice and elect delegates and alternates to the county convention in the spring. They typically gather at public venues close to their homes—most likely a school or community center. There are more than 130 caucus locations in all 17 counties across Nevada.

Nevadans first elect a caucus chair and secretary, who are in charge of running the precinct. The chair asks one attendee supporting each Republican candidate to stand up and briefly tell their neighbors why they should support their specific contender.

After the speeches, the residents cast their votes with paper ballots, a process which differs from the Democratic caucuses, where residents physically form groups around a room.

Nevada is more demographically diverse than the mostly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire. The first-in-the-West nominating event is the candidates' first big test among Hispanic voters. Still, the campaigns don't expect as many voters to turn out as in the earlier nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Who Can Participate?

Unlike a primary, voters participating in a caucus must physically attend the meeting. Same-day registration isn't available in the Republican caucuses. Only those residents who registered as Republicans at least 10 days in advance can participate in Tuesday's event.

Absentee voting was available for disabled veterans and active duty military serving outside of the country, according to the Nevada Republican Party. Those ballots had to be submitted by Monday.

What Time Will Voters Show Up?

Start times vary based on county. But the caucuses must start Tuesday after 5 p.m. PT and end before 9 p.m. For most precincts, the process takes about an hour to complete.

Caucus-goers can cast a ballot and leave at any time during the process. But the party encourages them to stay until the end, when each precinct votes for delegates to represent them at the county convention, and possibly, at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer. There, Nevada will have 30 delegates, awarded proportionally based on the results of the state's caucuses.

Why Are the Dates Different for Republicans and Democrats?

Some state laws allow the political parties to set their own dates.

What's Going On With the Candidates?

A recent poll published last week ahead of the Republican South Carolina primary showed Trump trailing in a major national poll for the first time in four months, 2 points behind Cruz.

In recent weeks, both Trump and Rubio have accused Cruz's campaign of being dishonest. A day before the caucuses, Cruz fired his main spokesman over a video that falsely showed Rubio dismissing the Bible.

Where Are Results Posted?

At each precinct, counting starts at the end of the caucus. The Nevada Republican Party doesn't expect results to start coming through until 9 p.m. PT.

The party will compile and review the results, then directly report them to the Associated Press. From there, the standings will be transmitted to the AP's publications.

What Happens Next?

The Republicans will gear up for Super Tuesday on March 1, when a clump of states will vote on the same day. In the meantime, they will face off in a debate in Houston on Thursday night.

In the Democratic race, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beat Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in their party's Nevada caucuses last weekend. The two Democratic hopefuls will participate in a live CNN town hall Tuesday, which comes just four days before their primary in South Carolina.

This story has been updated to reflect precinct-reporting times.