Archive for March 5th, 2008

Judging by last night’s turnout of four local precincts at our caucus/convention and the various state rallies, Obama should have had Texas. What a system, though. The caucus was ridiculously disorganized! With Jens accompanying us, we got there about 6:40 pm, only to realize at the last minute that Steve was still undecided and had not yet voted. The rest of us had voted early and assumed he had, too! He was directed to the long line around the back of the school building to vote in the Democratic Primary, or he could go to the short line inside to vote Republican. Put on the spot to choose in our presence, we teased with, “Vote whichever party you want — but we’ll know!” With that, he headed toward the long line, and the rest of us headed toward the Democratic caucus gathering in the cafeteria.

When we first arrived, there were plenty of seats. We passed a stack of small Obama signs, Jens helped himself to one as a souvenir, and we sat down. After a few minutes, we were directed to divide into our four precincts, with each taking a corner of the cafeteria, and soon the room was filled beyond capacity with people standing wherever they could fit. Although anyone eligible to caucus had already voted, we were increasingly uncomfortable being the only ones with the sign and Jens took it to the car. By the time he returned, Steve had joined us in the cafeteria.

Voting was closed at 7 pm, but anyone in line by closing was, of course, permitted to vote — and this continued for quite some time. The temporary chairwoman started signing us in for the caucus at about 7:15, when it was supposed to convene, but after only a handful of caucusers (caucus goers? conventioners?) had filled in the sheets, a very panicked female election judge ran in yelling, “Stop! We can’t start until the last voter finishes. Tear up those sheets!”

There was much arguing between election officials, but no one trying to explain anything to the caucus could be clearly heard above the crowd’s dull roar. Thankfully, someone from the crowd volunteered a megaphone, but even with that, the mumbled words of the soft-spoken temporary chairwoman could not be distinguished. Finally, a man who could enunciate and be heard took over and told us what was going on. We had at least another thirty minutes to wait for voting to end and for permission to assemble in other rooms.

With the four precincts in our caucus overflowing the school cafeteria, we were finally (after about an hour) granted permission to move at least two of the precincts into the library and gym. Our precinct completely filled the gym; however, after having arrived early to get a good place (and seats) in the cafeteria, we were now standing at the back of the lines in the gym — with all the late-comers at the front. The Obama supporters far outnumbered the Clinton supporters. We had at least eight lines of people signing in at three tables, while Clinton had one, maybe two, lines at another table. For those who didn’t bring proof of voting, there was yet another table where they could look them up. Jenna went into that line and reported that Clinton supporters were obnoxiously trying to cut in line ahead of her.

Then after sign-in had started and people had begun to leave, we were asked told to stay for a head count. I would imagine our crowd had diminished at least by half before this announcement was made by the temporary chair whose meek voice still couldn’t be understood over the megaphone (so annoying). Confused about why they couldn’t just count the signatures, it was finally explained that 33 precinct caucus delegates and 33 alternates (23 for Obama, 10 for Clinton) needed to be chosen from the remaining caucus to vote at the county convention March 29. Jenna will be one of our alternates. (Go, Jenna!)

Welcome to Texas: home of the most ludicrous, convoluted, and downright screwy Democratic primary system in America. Actually, it’s not even a primary; it’s a primary-caucus hybrid, the electoral equivalent of the turducken.”

The New Republic

The hard-fought Lone Star rumble captivated voters for weeks, and a record turnout led to long lines at the polls and delays and chaos in some precinct conventions afterward.

DMN Article1

Too many people and too little experience created chaos Tuesday night at several Texas caucuses. Complaints included biased election helpers, missing voter logs, fire code violations and not enough parking.

DMN Article 2

Also at tonight’s meetings, Republicans and Democrats will select the people they want to attend the county conventions. You could be one of those delegates if you get yourself nominated and get enough votes.

DMN Article 3

In Dallas County, turnout was twice that of 2004, and the most since at least 1980.

DMN Photos:
Obama’s Texas Primary Day | Clinton’s Texas Primary Day | McCain’s Texas Primary Day

As a side note, I was amused by this response to those 3 am Clinton ads:

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