This isn’t really about politics. I promised not to do that. But, I want to share my experience with the Washington State Caucus yesterday – the process of selecting candidates for elections. Until now, I’ve lived and participated only in states where everyone votes in the primary election within a political party. It is so much easier there. You may fill out a ballot and send it in, or you can go to a polling location to vote. I recall that in Texas, anyone can vote in either primary, but not both. They stamp your voter registration card with the name of the one you voted in. My point is: when you vote in a primary, you’re done and can be fairly anonymous.
I doubt if caucusing is done the same way state to state, or even precinct to precinct. I suspect that it’s similar. The time for caucus was from 10AM until 12:30 PM. Two and a half hours to vote, but we didn’t simply vote. These folks served coffee and snacks – a sure sign that you’re going be there a while. Before I went to the caucus location, I downloaded and completed a form. When I arrived at the registration table, I was instructed to write-in the name I wanted to vote for and to sign the form.
The room was packed with almost 200 people. After finding a seat, we were told that the actual caucusing begins at 10:30, before which the lady in charge read a bunch of things I would call ‘rules of engagement’ – boring and irritating, but necessary. Since we were from two precincts, we were divided into two groups, by precinct. At start time, the other group left for a separate room. Then the lady leading the caucus asks, “Would anyone like to speak on behalf of their candidate?”
This is where I need Deacon Andy Griffin to narrate events. That’s because what some folks apparently heard was, “Would you care to tell us how wonderful the other candidate is and then follow that with ‘But!’ and then tell us why the other candidate is not as good as yours?” In some cases (no kidding now) we will be in the end times for sure, “if we do not chose to nominate who I think is the best choice.” Listening to people pander to the opposition before stating their support for their preferred candidate was entertaining, but boring. I have no idea how sincere anyone was.
There was one brouhaha, which seemed silly. There were a few yells from individuals in the crowd, but it was generally peaceful. After the talking and some arguing, we were offered the opportunity to change the ballot that we turned-in at registration. After over an hour of talking, cajoling, pandering, and yadda-yadda-yadda, not one person asked to change their original vote. As it is with politics and religion, no one changed anyone’s mind. “May we go home now?” Nope!
We needed to elect eight delegates to represent our precinct. Fourteen had to volunteer; the eight, plus six alternates. Then we had to vote because we had an extra volunteer – me. I attended the caucus with a friend and she (and I assume others) did not want one volunteer to be a delegate. So, when she saw that happening, I felt an elbow slam into my side. To which my right arm instinctively responded by raising itself. That is how I became a delegate from our precinct. I was elbow-jabbed into it.
I have to admit that while just voting in a primary is easier and less likely to get me committed to deeper political involvement, caucusing is more fun and more interesting.