Thursday, March 6, 2008

Our First Caucusing Experience

Due to the tightness of this election as well as the importance to us, Jamie and I decided not only to vote but also to caucus! What an experience that was. Jamie and I are both meticulously organized people, so the utter chaos that was our caucus nearly drove us insane. There were a few big problems.

1. The facility was too small to accomodate the crowd, so the precincts were bleeding into one another.
2. It was smoking hot in there.
3. There were not enough sign-in sheets for our precinct.
4. There were NO tables and nothing to write on.
5. There really was no direction for the process for us first-time caucus'ers.
6. There was nowhere to sit.

We talked to one guy in our precinct who told us that at the last election he was the only member of our precinct to show up to caucus. This year we had 59 people just in our precinct! The energy in the room was just awesome, and I'm really glad we participated. The set-up really got to Jamie, and I think he regrets going.

For those who have never participated in a caucus in TX, this is how it goes:

You arrive and join the other members of your precinct (in our case, we located our precinct by finding the election official standing on a chair holding up a piece of paper with our precinct number handwritten). Once everyone has arrived and the primary voting has officially ended, they begin to pass around the sign-in sheets. You put your name, address, and candidate you support on the sheet. Email address and phone number were optional. I noticed most people left that blank, and I did as well. I don't need more junk mail or phone calls! Then it also had you fill in some demographic info (optional) for the purposes of compiling voting statistics. I indicated my gender, age, and race.

Once everyone has signed in, then the votes are tallied. Hillary won our precinct by a vote of 36-23. Based on the votes, the number of delegates is pro-rated. For example, let's pretend our precinct had 100 voters and 10 delegates to nominate. Then suppose Hillary won by a vote of 60-40. That would mean that we would be sending 6 delegates to vote for Hillary and 4 delegates to vote for Obama. So once the vote is tallied it is just a matter of nominating the delegates. Jamie and I did not stay to nominate the delegates, since it didn't matter to us which ones were chosen. We just wanted to be sure our votes counted towards the overall delegate count for Obama. Plus, we had Elise with us, and it was not the most fun experience for her!

Overall, I am really glad we did it. It was a neat experience. Now I know I've done all I can.


NesrstaFamily said...

My voting experience was a nightmare also. I was sent to 3 different places before I could do it. I thought I was going to scream! I am glad you voted in the caucas too. That's awesome!

Melanie said...

I don't know why things were so disorganized! It sounds like it went that way all around the state.

coach said...

That was my first and last caucas! A couple of things made me feel violated: (a)500 sweaty strangers butt cheek to butt cheek in a room with me that was meant to hold 200 (b)chaos and disorganization by people who are supposed to be in charge..... SO, not something I want to expose myself to again.