#4: A Voting Double Dip

Texas Primary Day should be a holiday. Even with record numbers for early voting all over the state, I waited, for I like to cast my vote on the actual day. I warmed up last night by going to the Hillary rally at Burger Center (she was great, by the way; I need to write that one up!). After much soul-searching, I had hit upon a brilliant plan for my own version of the Texas Electoral Two Step (and another Fab First!).

Step One: Around 10 a.m., Patsy Clementine and I walked over to my precinct at nearby Lanier High School. All was calm, and we signed right in and cast our vote. I do like Hillary a lot; and I don’t care what the Obama folks say, Hillary probably does have stronger experience. Plus, this is my first time EVER to vote for a woman for president. So Patsy and I cast our vote for Hillary Clinton; I did get goosebumps when I reviewed my ballot before casting and saw “U.S. President: Hillary Clinton”! One for the ladies and the future! (And that was Patsy’s first vote, but I don’t think she even noticed!)

Step Two: I managed to get some work done while waiting to return for the Precinct 161 Caucus. I arrived around 7 p.m. and joined 150 or so of my neighbors in the cafeteria. By 7:15 p.m., the numbers had swelled to close to 400, a heartening mix of races and ages, men and women. Even though everyone in Texas had known for two weeks that voting turnout was huge among Dems, the party had not planned for such huge numbers at the caucus (our usual turnout was more like 60!). It made me think of my sister Cathy, who had been immersed in the Iowa caucuses; I found myself wishing for an influx of Iowa volunteers to help us Texans figure out how to run our caucus! They’d get it done!

Our beleaguered temporary precinct chair took the stage and admitted to being overwhelmed by the turnout. She tried her best to shout out instructions on how the caucus would work, but that was tough, since she didn’t have a microphone. A few groans ran through the crowd when she announced that the county organization hadn’t sent enough sign-in sheets, so they would have to go make copies. The groans escalated when someone popped up to say copies would have to made off site, because the school library was locked. Fortunately, a woman behind me stood up and said, “I have a key!” She saved the day, bless her! Once the copying crisis was resolved, the chair called for 10 volunteers to help with sign-in; about 30 people rushed up to the stage!

By 7:37, our chair called the caucus to order and the sign-in mob started. Here’s where I launched the second prong of my cunning plan: I caucused for Barack! By 7:47 p.m., I was signed up. A few minutes later the sign-up volunteers are shouting out for more signees and it wrapped up neatly, considering the onslaught of numbers. By then, the crowd easily dropped by more than half.

The counting started at 7:55 p.m. With this being a caucus, we had to total up the number of signees and then apply a formula to calculate how to allocate the 33 delegates from Precinct 161. Unfortunately, my hopes for another 2008 first –– seeing if I could be a delegate to the National Convention –– were dashed by my own timing: The Travis County convention is March 29, but I’ll be in Illinois enjoying an upcoming Fab First (details to follow as the date approaches — I’m sworn to secrecy!). So much for Denver Delegate idea! Even so, I thought I’d stick around and see what transpired. Within minutes, our “temporary” precinct chair and secretary were elected “permanent” officers. We were then divvied up into our respective groups and chose a representative to help count.

8:10 p.m. While waiting on the final talley, I checked in on the caucus’s main competition, the UT-Nebraska basketball game at the Erwin Center. Score: UT 55 and Nebraska 52 with 7:09 left –– whoa! A few minutes later, Texas was up 58-52. Someone announced he had two Obama posters to give away and played “Hickory Dickory Dock” to get down from eight or nine to the two winners. By 8:18, oooh! The Huskers are still in it, down 2 with 2:54 left. Then it’s tied 61 all with 44 seconds to go!!! Some excitement!

8:27 p.m.: The delegate counts are announced: 20 for Barack and 13 for Hillary. And Texas pulls it out 70-66 — dang it! From there, our group chose 20 delegates and 20 alternates. And that was that.

Postscript at 9:45 p.m. Jeffrey Toobin just told Anderson Cooper on CNN, “This is a disgrace, what Texas is doing, making people who voted in the afternoon come back, wait in line … having a primary in a caucus in the same day. … Subjecting people to a system like that and allocating votes for president of the U.S. on such an insane system, I think Texas should be ashamed of itself.” I beg to differ! It allowed me to double dip and vote twice!

2 Responses to “#4: A Voting Double Dip”

  1. 1 Anne McCrady March 5, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I, too, spent the day yesterday voting and then caususing, and it did seem alittle redundant. It also seems to favor people with the time/resources to come back to the polling places in the evening. That said, I was glad to do it. Since the founding of this great country, every generation of little girls has dreamed of the day a woman would have the chance to be its leader. That day has finally come. Whether we are of Anglo, Hispanic, African-American, Middle Eastern, Asian or European descent, we need to one of our own. Hillary Clinton has been an open-hearted teenager, a spiritual person, a fine student, a courageous civil rights volunteer, an accomplished attorney, a dedicated wife, a working mother, a respected Senator, an example to young women and a global force for good. She has done all that our society asks of women who want to be taken seriously–now it is time for all of us who have also lived as strong women to celebrate this amazing opportunity to support her as the first woman President. I was thrilled to be in the caucus for that woman–Hillary Clinton!

  1. 1 Greetings, Y’all! « 50 Fabulous Firsts Trackback on January 6, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: