California Delegate Caucus: Someone’s Gotta Do It

Sunday was the day California Democrats chose district delegates to the national convention in August. Yes, I went to my delegate caucus. About a month ago I volunteered to help, naively thinking I’d be sitting at a table signing people in. Well, last Monday night I received an email saying I was responsible for running the 6 delegate CD-14 Hillary delegate caucus (6 being the larger allocation). A couple days later I got a bunch of paperwork and sign-up sheets in the mail.

About Thursday I figure out that we should be expecting over 500 people and on Friday I realized that several of the folks who volunteered to help were either running for delegate or spouses of delegates and would be unable to help–you know, to avoid pesky conflicts of interest. So I did what any good event organizer would do: I went to a bar. Seriously. Turned out to be a good move because I was able to recruit several volunteers. Combined with some last minute pathetic sounding emails pleading with folks to help and a couple volunteers the campaign sent over, I had enough people to man the sign in tables, mark voter’s hands, and watch the ballot box like a hawk.

The lines were long and constant from the time the caucus was officially started to the time sign-ins were closed. In total 611 people signed in and 610 ballots were cast. The missing ballot, apparently had been blown away by the wind, and since we couldn’t verify this occurrence, couldn’t replace the ballot. Everything checked out fine. Woohoo!

I was able to recruit additional volunteers after the delegates had spoken to help with the counting of the sign-ups, ballots and votes. It took a little pleading, prodding, and begging but I managed to get more than 10 people to count. We streamlined the process to independently verify numbers on everything. This turned out to be important because the race for the female delegate Hillary was alloted in our district came down to TWO votes. The two male delegates were pretty easily determined.

None of the candidates issued formal complaints. The process went smoothly and I didn’t develop an ulcer. I was told by people who had volunteered at caucuses in other states that our caucus was run much better than the others they had participated in. I’d love to take credit for it all, but I had wonderful volunteers, several from my persuasive bar recruiting effort. I’d name them here, but I haven’t gotten permission. All in all, it was a good experience. Sure I could have lived without planning it myself and having to make up for lost time by writing all night, but hey, someone’s gotta do it, right?

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