Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Caucus

So tonight my co-bloggers and I decided to jump feet first into the fray and attend our precinct conventions. Frankly, I had a blast. There were about 250 there for my precinct alone (and big turnouts were the order of the day) but since there were multiple precincts gathered there we had probably 500 or so people packed into the building. It was a little disorganized at first, but it eventually got going and by the end our precinct had split evenly between Obama and Clinton, with eight delegates going to each nominee. The delegate selection process was a little wild and a little exciting, as I'd say most of the people there really didn't even know what they were there for; they just wanted to be part of the process and have their voices heard. But when some of us were able to explain what the process entailed, how it might mean an obligation to take a trip to Denver for the Democratic National Convention, not a single person balked. Everyone was there to help in whatever way they could, and though I'm a bit of a cynic at heart it was certainly very uplifting. Both candidates managed to get the word out about the importance of the caucuses. I'd say those of us Texans who participated got to witness democracy in its purest form, as ordinary people made their voices heard.

Observations: about half of the people in my precinct were African-American, and of those about ninety percent went for Obama. The total turnout in my precinct alone was probably around 250 (based on the vote totals alone for both candidates) and of those I'd say about 1/3 hung around after the sign-in process to take part in the voting for delegates. There has apparently been some contention in precincts across Dallas County, but I saw nothing like that in my precinct.

Here are some pictures from the precinct below:

UPDATE: Some pictures from Nat-Wu's precinct caucus:


Nat-Wu said...

As you can see, my precinct voting place was extremely hectic. Even from those pictures you get no sense of how many people were jammed in there. In the school's tiny gymnasium, there were easily 300 people between the four precincts caucusing there. I saw no real problems, but the jam created by so many people meant that it took forever to get in and get signed. I early voted so I showed up at 7:15 at the school to vote in the precinct convention. I really should have waited until about 9 because I didn't get out of there until 9:30!

Xanthippas said...

I will say that the "closing" of the caucus that was supposed to take place at 7:30 was something of a joke. I saw people coming and going an hour into it. But I don't have a problem with that; the stragglers weren't overwhelming in number and they eased right into the process.

Nat-Wu said...

Well mine couldn't close that early because we weren't even in it yet! I'm telling you the turnout was huge!

Fan Boy said...

I actually went to my Caucus and arrived on time and was locked out. This was not so much about anyone having a way to know who I was going to vote for - but that both could not get in - where is the fairness?

Texas needs to get rid of this - it did not work - it also patently goes against Seniors participating as most can not drive at night and vote during the day. ITs wrong to hold a crucial vote when they know a large group of people will not be able to make it back.

Nat-Wu said...

I understand that a lot of people were put off by the caucus process, but I think the fact that so many people got confused isn't really a reason to condemn the process. The caucuses aren't really meant to be something everybody participates in. They really are for the party faithful and they do reward them, but as a matter of fact that usually works because it limits the process to the most educated voters. So you give 2/3 of the votes to Joe average voter and 1/3 to the elites (well, that plus the votes they already cast). In general, it works. It rewards people for being active and knowing what they're talking about.

It just doesn't work as well when everybody casts a vote and then goes back to the caucus too.