Sunday, February 10, 2008

Oh My Aching Caucus

Today I participated in my first caucus. I vote for Maine switching to a primary.

Caucus started at 5pm. Sign in was between 4:30 and 5pm.

I was there for 2 hours and 15 minutes. The worst part was waiting to sign in.

4:45pm: One line for registered Democrats. The other for voters who need to register or who are registered Independents. How I wish I remembered what I was registered as. I figure Independent, so I get in the longer, slower moving line.

5:25pm: Someone working the caucus asks the numerous people in line if we know where the nearest copy place is as they ran out of forms. There is also talk among those in line that some folks have been asked to leave. I’m hoping they are talking about people that showed up after 5pm.

5:45pm: There are rumors that those of us still waiting in line (both lines) will not be able to partake in the caucus because it should have started by now. Everyone in line starts grumbling. Turns out not to be true, although folks are wondering why the police have shown up.

6:10pm: It’s my turn! I give my name and find I am already registered as a Democrat. I’m not too bummed about the long wait in the wrong line because I would have been waiting in the gym for the caucus to start anyhow. I’m told to fill out my paperwork in the gym because things are about to start.

6:15pm: I enter the gym and have no idea what to do. A woman is speaking on behalf of Clinton. I can’t understand what she is saying because I am behind the podium. Someone working the caucus notifies us the caucus will start as soon as the last voter is signed in and registered, which should be shortly. Someone begins to speak on behalf of Obama, but I can’t really hear what he is saying because a.) I’m still standing behind the podium and b.) I'm too busy wondering how the hell this caucus stuff works.

6:30pm: I see someone I know who also has no idea how the caucus works. We’re both voting Obama. We move to the Obama section.

6:35pm: The voting is about to begin. They tell us to hold up our form when they call our candidate's name. Delegates will be assigned based on the number of votes per candidate. They start with Edwards then Kucinich - only a handful of votes each. Now Obama. Um. No one working the caucus seems to have a good method for counting the votes. The crowd starts yelling, “count by row.” A caucus worker says, “Count by vote?” No, count by row. They figure counting by row does make sense. They count Clinton votes last.

6:50pm: We are told 550 voters showed up. Edwards 4. Kucinich 7. Neither has the required 15% to get delegates. Ten of the eleven move over to the Obama camp. Clinton has 200 something votes. Obama 300 something votes. Hooray!

6:55pm: It is chaos as voters who do not wish to volunteer to go to the Democratic National Convention in May leave. Voters must turn in their forms. Some caucus workers are only collecting Hillary forms. I find the Obama collector and hurry home to catch 60 Minutes. Yes, in part to catch Obama, but mostly to see the guy who’s in favor of getting rid of the penny. Let's vote on it! But not as a caucus.

7:05pm: Post caucus cocktail.

Fortune: Avoid senseless contradictions with others.

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