Feb 9, 2008

Democratic Caucus at Mt. Zion

A few thoughts about Saturday's Democratic Caucus:

  • Great crowds of people, coming from all directions
  • Sign-in lines moved quickly and efficiently (Thank you, Mike Clarke, for helping with our precinct)
  • Many young voters, some older ones, even a few babies and children.
  • Saw assorted friends and acquaintances, got to meet our next door neighbors!
  • Longtime Miller neighbor Andy Bates did a wonderful job in keeping the whole show running efficiently, despite the very large crowds.
  • We were a number of precincts from the very southern border of the 43rd District.
  • Our precinct (43-1887) is roughly Madison to John to 19th.
  • We were meeting at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, but much of the 43rd District is north of Madison, perhaps explaining the small number of African-Americans in the crowd: our precinct (43-1887) roughly corresponds to Census tract 76, which reported 15% African-Americans in the 2000 Census.
  • Some precincts had to be sent to an overflow site across 19th.
  • Some groups in other rooms at the church, about 4 precincts in the sanctuary
  • Our precinct (43-1887) got the choir stalls.
  • A very efficient and unflappable young man volunteered to lead us: the rules were interpreted loosely, to everyone's satisfaction.
  • Votes were tallied, preliminary delegate tally announced: 7 Obama and 2 Clinton delegates. Headcount included 1 Edwards and 5 uncommitted votes.
  • People got to speak for 1 minute to promote their candidates: we heard from both Obama and Clinton supporters.
  • Speakers were all warmly and respectfully received. Nobody seemed too shy to speak
  • We learnt to applaud by waving our hands in the air (a "deaf clap"), rather than clapping them together, to avoid interfering with other groups in the room.
  • Several people then changed their votes, but the delegate tally remained unchanged.
  • We broke into groups to elect delegates and alternates to go to the District convention.
  • We then dispersed, all still apparently friends.
  • Here's a SLOG report from the adjacent precinct ( 43-1888): 7 Obama 2 Clinton 1 Kucinich.
The crowds seemed larger than anybody's expectation, but it was all handled in a cooperative and cheerful manner. Potential for chaos, but everything worked out well, and democracy (at the very grassroots level) seems to be alive and well.

Here are notes from another precinct, a report from the Central District News and a Capitol Hill roundup. Ths Stranger has oodles and oodles of peoples' reports and impressions.

Andy Bates said that turnout was about twice their wildest prediction: about 25% of the registered voters in the area!


Joe #302 said...

Thank you again, Andrew.

What a great and unusual thing; we actually mattered, and when things mattered, we overflowed the pipes.

I'm still not down with the caucus system, but I will say, having participated in my first since I moved out here (and the first since there wasn't a clear nominee since I moved out here), I enjoyed it on a certain level.

I still think the primary is a better way to do the delegate counting, since we have mail in primaries and many people in this area work on the weekends (hey, I'm even oncall, I was lucky to not get paged... I only went because I live a block away.)

sexy said...