The Caucus

Doc and I just got done “caucusing.”

Get your mind out of the gutter! It may SOUND dirty, and we may have made a lot of innuendo jokes about it, but caucusing is actually just a very strange part of our very strange political system. Apparently in Texas, you get to vote in the primary election, and then you get to vote AGAIN at the caucus the same night. The primary selects 2/3 of the delegates, and the results from the caucus select the remaining third.

So not only did we early vote in the primaries last week, we showed up for the caucus tonight. We had no idea what to expect, but since the Obama people have called us about a dozen times over the past two weeks urging us to show up and vote, we decided to go and see what it was all about.

We walked about 3/4 of a mile to the elementary school in our neighborhood, and stood in a very long line of people waiting outside the doors. After the last voter had voted in the primary around 7:30, they let everyone in and we split up by precinct to stand in new very long lines. Eventually we got to the sign-up sheet and cast our votes for Obama. We weren’t sure what to do after that, but a lot of people seemed to be sitting in chairs lining a long hallway filled with lockers and childrens’ drawings, so we sat down and chatted with the people around us for a while. Brittney called Doc while we were waiting and said that she was still in line in her precinct, with about 100 people ahead of her! It seems like crazy numbers of people are turning up for the elections this year.

About an hour later, the results were in: Obama was assigned 12 delegates, and Clinton 8.

Then, they asked people in our group to sign up to be delegates! 12 delegates and 12 alternates. By this time I think that there were maybe only 40 people or so left in the Obama group. I didn’t know that we were selecting delegates from amongst ourselves — I sort of thought that there were a couple of people who were like professional delegates or something and we’d just ratify their nominations — but no! I seriously considered signing myself up just because it would be interesting, and the seats weren’t exactly being contested.

As we were standing around trying to decide whether to leave or if we needed to hang out for a while yet, we saw Brian Peacock! He and his wife Jen were there. Apparently we’re neighbors and we didn’t even know it! I don’t think I have seen him in years. When one of the precinct captains shouted down the hallway that we still needed 3 more delegates, he signed right up. And I think that Jen signed up as an alternate. It was very cool to see them; it’s been a few years. Now I wish I’d thought to get Brian’s e-mail address, or see if they wanted to have dinner sometime.

I was quite surprised at the sheer numbers of people who showed up (and glad we walked rather than drove). The precinct workers were overwhelmed by it — they really didn’t have space for us all. They told us not to bother writing down our voter registration numbers on the sign-in sheet so things would move faster.

All in all, it was a very interesting evening, and I’m glad we went.


  1. Anonymous

    It was pretty disorganized in Wylie too. And it was no earlier than 8:30 by the time we were able to start moving and signing. I think they must have been taking Primary voters up until 8! Anyhow, it was still pretty cool to go; it really felt like we mattered. Brett (yep!) and I are glad we went.

  2. Katy

    That was one of the things that I meant to write but forgot (I was distracted while I was posting because I was trying to watch CNN at the same time, LOL). It felt like we were part of a small group of people that actually mattered.

    And Brett went to the Dem caucus?! Wait, did he go just to vote for Hillary in an attempt to give McCain an easier win in the general election?? πŸ˜‰

  3. joel

    I caucused at the school near our house; I would call it more “crowded” than “disorganized” — and it took an hour and a half, at least. But very cool.

    And the Texas counties with the most delegates have tilted heavily in favor of Obama in the caucuses, which makes me happy.

  4. Anonymous

    Heh, yeah, that’s why Brett went. No,just kidding. Doc was right, Brett doesn’t (didn’t) feel there’s a good conservative to vote for. Apparently you can’t switch parties anyway after you vote in the primary. So until 12/31/09, Mr. Bim is a registered Democrat. πŸ™‚

  5. Silvershoes

    We caucused four years ago at our little precinct in Houston. I think about 8 people total showed up, so we were all automatically delegates to the Senate district convention (we had something like 15 delegates to select). I didn’t run to be a delegate at the state convention, but ended up as one anyway (long story), which I was happy to do because the convention was in Houston that year. It was actually really cool to go to the state convention. Caucuses seem to make it easier for the “little people” to get involved in party politics.

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