Kevin and I have just gotten back from our first caucus.
It was held at the Erie High School. We had been warned to arrive early. We got there just before 6:30pm and the parking lot in the front of the school was full. We managed to find parking round the back. We followed the crowds - young, old, families with babies and toddlers through the glass doors. 2 Counties were caucusing - Weld County and Boulder County. Weld County was in the cafeteria. We line up to see whether our names are on the lists. Kevin is I'm not. I had been warned that this could happen as I am a first time voter. So we go over to the Site Leader table with some other people who are not on the lists. He is talking on his cell phone. Hard to tell who he is talking to, but he seems to be getting telephonic confirmation of their eligibility. I tell him my story - he okays it, and says that I have to sign an oath of affirmation, and then sign in. We have 3 precincts all caucusing in the same room. We are waved over to a corner of the room were about 20 people are sitting around in a circle. Some are wearing Obama stickers, some have Hillary stickers. We sit down. The Precinct Coordinator is very organized and manages to get everyone to sign up/ register, I get my oath of affirmation completed and then you get a sticker which says:
Then we start chatting to people sitting around. We have a Hillary supporter on one side of us. We have a long debate why Hillary is a better candidate.
Then Ken the Site Leader starts to speak. The Cafeteria is full. There must be about 150 people there. He is looking a little bewildered. He states that usually they are lucky to get 20 people to show up. Loud cheers and applause.
Some precincts haven't registered their voters properly. They get registered. Each precinct is assigned a corner of the room. We are the smallest with 28 people. The other groups are loud and noisy.
Ken the Site Leader recites the rules.
We then start to Caucus:
First step to elect a chair and secretary. Since our Precinct Coordinator appeared so organized we elect her and her assistant.
Then we have a good idea. We group ourselves - Obama supporters to the one side, and Clinton supporters to another.
We take a straw poll. They count it three times.
Obama = 21. Hillary = 7
THen we take the official vote. They have to read each candidates names out including "uncommitted". They take Obama vote, and Hillary.
We then decide on delegates. This is based on a complicated formula. But we are told based on the vote that Obama gets 4 delegates and Hillary gets 1.
We are then asked who wants to be a delegate and who wants to be an alternative. The delegates get sent to the County Convention where they can decide to vote. The votes tonight are non binding, so they can in theory change their votes. Some people volunteer. We ask the candidates whether they promise not to change their minds, they promise, we vote them in.
Then the Chair and Secretary, tally the votes, and write the delegates names down on their forms.
Then the Presidential Caucus is over. Now they tell us they will move on to the Senate Caucus. Since I haven't been following the Senate caucus, we leave the caucus. Once you leave that is it, you cannot be let back in. It is bitterly cold outside as we make a mad dash to our car, and home to Maddie the Cat.