Participatory Politics

This isn’t a political blog, and isn’t slated to become one.  However, I think my experience at this afternoon’s Democratic Party caucus is worth a few comments.  I admit that I was a reluctant participant.  Casting a primary ballot is a much simpler process that requires considerably less time.  In Washington it’s particularly confusing because we received presidential preference primary ballots in the mail a few days before the caucus, but the primary only counts if you consider yourself a Republican.

Apparently the Democrats broke through the general confusion and attracted lots of people to their caucuses today. Everyone was patient with the sign-in process, which is where you indicate your initial candidate preference. Some people didn’t understand that, but had an opportunity to commit to a candidate before the first tally.  I was one of the two official vote counters for our precinct. The local party organization provided a good set of instructions for us to follow. One observer for each candidate watched what we did as we counted and did the delegate selection math.

Following the first count people could speak on behalf of their candidate and then there was a question period. Those who had marked uncommitted or to a candidate that had a very low number of votes could then change their preference and the handful of latecomers were added.  We counted again and announced the results.

The last step in the process was subcaucuses for each candidate to select delegates to the legislative district convention in early April. Those folks will select delegates to the state convention, and they in turn will select delegates to the national convention. It’s a long and involved process, but it seems pretty open.

In our precinct, the great majority of people who participated looked to be under 30.  I think that’s good news for our country, from the perspective of one who is on the high side of 50.  We had 85 people, with 15 supporting Clinton, 84 for Obama, and 1 who remained uncommitted to the end. We’ll know the feelings of the whole state later tonight.

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One thought on “Participatory Politics

  1. Cathi Lamoreux on said:

    I, too, participated in my Democratic caucus which was both democratic and Democratic. We were six precincts in a room which was large enough to handle the turnout from one precinct. There was a good mix of ages, gender, and ethicity – a very good thing. The only other time I participated in a caucus was four years ago when the Dems nominated John Kerry. The experience this year wasn’t as fulfilling as the previous one, which met in a school cafeteria and there was room to move and breathe. The packed room made it very difficult to move, talk and listen. But, I cast my vote, listened to the impassioned speeches and discussion and left feeling like I had done my part. Overall, the six precincts went about 75% Obama, 25% Clinton. Our precinct went 55% Obama, 44% Clinton, 1 uncomitted.