Thursday, March 06, 2008

My Night at the Caucus

The following is somewhat plagiarized from my entry at the above link.

S.R.I. and I attended the 454 precinct caucus in South Austin. Two precincts met in an elementary school cafeteria, but one precinct had only 3 people show up (there are only 75 households in that precinct.) One of the secretaries/recorders exclaimed, "This is the first caucus where I needed to use a calculator!"

It went fairly smoothly, and we were able to start not long after 7:15. 253 people signed in (and our voter cards were checked.) It took about 45 minutes for the explanations and sign in, and about half an hour to count. Had I been running the circus, I would have had people go to the sign in areas by rows, to make it more orderly, but it wasn’t that bad. We had a nice conversation with a WW II veteran about his service, and Scott shook his hand and thanked him for all he’d done for his country.

Everyone was so excited that such a large crowd showed up. One woman said, “I’ve been in this precinct for years, and this is the first time I’ve had to use a calculator!” I counted over 10 neighbors and former co-workers. About half the group left after the announcement of the count.

I believe the Obama caucus had 20 delegates and the Clinton had 15. (Anyone who had voted for someone who had fewer than 7 votes had to caucus with another candidate - there were a handful of people who had voted for Edwards, etc.) The Clintonians were able to select their delegates quicker — the Obama caucus (my group) had 28 people who wanted to be delegates, so we had to vote on which 20 would be delegates. The remaining 8 would be alternates, and then I think they tried to get another 2 alternates.

The Obama delegate wannabes each spoke briefly about why they wanted to be a delegate. It was neat to find out about some of the people in our neighborhood. One woman has a disabled or severely ill child, and has had Medicaid cut off twice — once in the middle of a hospital stay! One young man (if I heard him correctly) recently received his US citizenship, one woman was a lawyer, at least 3 were educators, including a woman who teaches a leadership glass to young girls, one man was a doctor, there were several retirees who’d lived in the neighborhood for decades, and we had an Iraq War Marine veteran and a Vietnam war veteran. Most seemed to be regular, working class folks, just like me. I’ve never been prouder to be a Democrat — these are some great peeps!

We then voted to accept the resolutions - without looking at them :( — but I think that was because everyone was tired. Scott wasn't happy about that, and he does have a point. The whole thing was over by about 10 p.m.

I've read several other caucus reports, and it seems the results were pretty mixed. Some want smoothly, but many seemed to be overwhelmed by the large turnout. One of the dorms on the UT campus which serves as a polling place had 1000 voters show up to caucus. There were reports of some precincts not being able to start until long after 7:15 p.m. (You have to wait until the last person has voted, and you can't start before 7:15.) You can read the rest at the link above, if you are interested.

1 comment:

gl. said...

awesome. i've never caucused before (is that a word?), so it's neat to read about.