Saturday, January 19, 2008

My fun at the Nevada Caucus

So I went to vote today at the Nevada Caucus. Until now, I had only voted in primaries, so this was my first experience voting at a real "caucus" and it was a different experience indeed. First, because everyone converges on the voting location at the same time (9:00 AM), parking was an issue. My Caucus location was at a high school, so when we finally found parking, we needed to locate the room that was to host my precinct; this was an ordeal because most people did not know the number of their precinct and were forced to crowd around a map on the wall at the entrance to the building, and then cross reference the precinct number with the room number, to be found on another poster on another wall. After that ordeal folks proceeded to their assigned rooms. Naturally, no-one was familiar with the building so everyone then spent the next 10 minuets walking around the hallways of this giant high-school looking for the right room number. begin to get the picture. After finally finding the right room and presenting our identification, we all (about 40 of us) sat down and the process began. The Precinct Captain followed a set of written instructions. First, we filled out a card with suggestions for the State party to adopt at the upcoming convention. Then we held an "election" for seven delegates to the county convention. Seven of us (myself included) volunteered and were selected by unanimous consent.

Then it was time to get down to the meat of the matter. Supporters of each campaign were asked to speak on behalf of their candidate. Romney, McCain, Thompson, Huckabee and Giuliani had supporters who spoke eloquently for their candidate. Romney and Ron Paul were the only two campaigns that clearly had an organized effort to get people to the Caucus. Our room was stacked with wacky young Ron Paul supporters...I admired their passionate enthusiasm but...good lord! Anyway, the young Ron Paul supporter got up and told us how he was "blown away" by Paul's "awesome ideas" like returning to the gold standard and stopping the war against terror. A real eye-rolling moment.

Then ballots were handed out and everyone filled them out and returned them to the head table. I was asked to read the results out-loud. Romney received the most votes followed by Ron Paul, and the rest were divided up pretty much evenly among the other candidates. The results were tabulated, the ballots put in a sealed envelop and signed by two precinct member...and that was it. The entire process, from parking to driving off took a little over an hour.

My impression? Grass-roots, Smass-roots. The primary system is far better, and far less susceptible to manipulation than the Caucus system. I prefer the Primary system.

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