Saturday, February 9

Participatory Democracy

Well, the caucus is over. Now I can lose my voice.

Yesterday afternoon I started getting that unmistakable tickle in the throat --- the first symptom of a cold. I woke this morning with inflamed sinuses, but overall not feeling too bad yet. I got to the school gym around 12 noon, an hour before the start time, as asked of the caucus chairs. To my disappointment, I found out that they hadn't asked for extra rooms, all 10 precincts were going to meet in the one space. We had two tables for our precinct, two of those standard picnic-style tables found in elementary schools everywhere. It wasn't long before people started showing up. The early arrivals were very helpful, making sure the sign-up process was going smoothly, going to get more forms, pens, etc. All in all it ran smoothly considering the size of the turnout.

When Gail asked me to be chair, she said that 4 years ago the turnout had been really high, about 60 people. Today we had 129. That's just our precinct. There were more than a thousand people in the room, 10 precincts all trying to get organized, sign everyone in, tally up the votes, choose delegates. Our precinct had the most attendees and also the most delegates to choose (number of delegates is determined by some formula using past voting data) so it isn't surprising that we were the last one done. 99 Obama, 30 Clinton. 5 delegates for Obama, 2 for Clinton.

The delegate votes have to be done on paper ballots. There was no easy way for the 70+ Obama supporters who stuck it out that far to do the balloting. But we managed. Everyone pitched in and it all worked so smoothly. I didn't get to knit much, got too busy right away. Mostly I stood on the bench seat of one of the tables and tried to project so that the whole precinct could hear me.

I had been worried, I had been kicking myself for my inability to say no. But it was great. Lots of neighbors came -- many that I see regularly, some only once in a while. I met some new people, and everyone was truly neighborly. Maybe the size helped. It really was too large and crowded for folks to try to politick. Everyone seemed to have already made up their mind and there was very little changing. Now I have to thank Gail for going out of town and asking me to volunteer.

But first, change into sweats, brew lemon ginger tea with honey, and curl up in a blanket. Pass me the tissues, please.


Erika said...

Rest and fluids! Oo, and some DVDs?

KarenJoSeattle said...

I hope you feel better by now. If you hadn't already contracted a cold, so many people in one room at this time of year surely would have done it.