Friday, February 29, 2008

Welcome to the machine

Missouri, as many of you know, had it's primaries as part of the "Super {fill in your own superlative here} Tuesday" at the beginning of this month. Well, in usual confusing political style, Missouri Democrats also hold caucuses to pick the delegates to go to the state and national conferences. And guess what. It's not talked about almost anywhere...

Fortunately my wife is much more up on these matters and found out that the caucuses were being held yesterday evening so we decided to go and check out the process. Neither one of us has been greatly politically active, but we were both curious and this year has gotten us (and many many others) much more interested in what is actually going on.

Given that last fact, we expected there to be a large number of people showing up at this, even though almost the only places you could find any information was on the MO DNC website, with barely a mention in the local news. Doors were to open at 6 and the "festivities" were supposed to start at 7:30. To our great surprise, when we showed up at 7, there was almost nobody, just one older gentleman that I couldn't tell if he was affiliated with the caucus or just with the school where it was being held. It turned out that there had been one other person there who had been waiting since 6:30, but had been in his car when we got there.

After about 20 minutes or so two more people showed up, one of them being the person in charge, our local councilman as it happened. This gave us, with that first person, who turned out to be one of the heads of the county election board, a total of six people. As we were getting set up, our councilman got a call from another nearby township's caucus saying that they had one of our people at their caucus and that she was on her way over to us. This gave us the seven people we needed to meet our delegate quota.

So it looks like our curiosity was the only thing that made sure we were going to actually send all the delegates from our township that we were supposed to. According to the councilman, if there hadn't been enough people at the caucus for each candidate (there might not have been, depending on whether or not the election committee person can be a delegate for a candidate, as he and the first person were the only two that chose to be delegates for Clinton) those delegate seat(s) would have been "open" (your guess is as good as mine what that means).

Anyway, it looks like I'm now officially a delegate for Obama.

Now is when the procedures get really confusing. First, late in March, the congressional caucuses are held. During that, anyone who was picked as a delegate on the township level can be nominated to be a national delegate, about 2/3rds of our state pledged delegates are picked during these. If you can't make it to that, or just prefer to run during the state-wide caucus, you need to file paperwork by the middle of March, and you can try to get nominated in May. Even if you don't want to be a national delegate, if you are picked as a township delegate you are still supposed to show up at the state convention.

Does anyone else think this is a very complicated way to get your vote counted?


Jaelithe said...

Hmph. "Neither one of us has been greatly politically active"? By what measure, mister?


Comrade Kevin said...


That whole matter is news to me and got drowned out by everything else going on in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont.