When I was a little girl my mother would take me into the voting booth with her and let me pull the large metal level. It was the reverse of the slot machine…we were eschewing luck, examining and exerting out opinions.
Until I moved to Colorado 18 months ago I had never missed and election. Sometimes I voted with absentee ballots, other times I brought my boys for some scantron and baked goods. I always went early in the morning to wear my “I voted” sticker as a badge of honor and wordless reminder to others that we have some say in the great world of ours.
For the first time I live in a swing state and will not be voting on Super Tuesday. I am equally heartbroken and annoyed.
Here is what voting looked like in Vermont:
I don’t know his story but presumably my friend picked a time that worked for him, went into a room, spent a few minutes chatting and then left with a baked good, a sticker, and a vote that will be counted.
I will not have that experience. I have copied below one 200th of the instructions regarding the Colorado caucus.
B. Inconvenient- you MUST arrive at 7pm.
C. Lengthy- They estimate a 3 hour commitment
D. Not family friendly (see B and C)
E. Likely to be a shit show
Steve and I spent hours trying to figure it out, and when we realized that we would not BOTH be able to caucus because of an immovable appointment at 6:30 I tried to recruit a replacement.
A friend who is a lawyer and was a judge spent about an hour on the materials and decided that it didn’t make much sense. Right. She still might take my place. (If you are reading this I love and appreciate you.)
Enjoy the bits I have selected below.
C. It is recommended that caucuses conduct straw polls, (i.e., you can discuss the candidates; do a show of
hands) before conducting the official preference poll. But once the official preference poll is announced,
only one ballot is allowed. The caucus may also conduct straw polls on other races (county, legislative,
etc). Straw polls may be conducted in order to select delegates for House, Senate, and Judicial districts. In
most causes, multi-country districts do not elect delegates during the caucus process but will at the
• Once the entire caucus is assembled, each person declares a candidate preference and a tally is kept.
• The Chair (or someone good at math) using the math worksheet, determines which groups reach the
15% threshold and how many delegates they receive.
D. Make sure a calculator is available. Advance practice using the work sheet with some sample problems
before you go to the caucus will help immensely. If you have any questions as you are reading this in
advance, contact the State HQ at 303-623-4762 or e-mail your questions so answers can be provided to all
who may have the same question.
If you are planning to vote in this important swing state on Super Tuesday I have just one question:
Did you bring your calculator?
P.S. In the end we left volleyball early, hired a sitter and both went to the caucus. It took 2.5 hours. In that time we lost 1lb/hr in sweat. We had 120 people from precinct 622 in a small elementary school classroom. Nine precincts caucused at the school surrounded on all sides by precinct 622 but precinct 622 was NOT ONE OF THEM.
It was poorly organized but about a half hour after we crammed into our classroom our volunteer leader got things started. All 120 of us were white. We were all upper middle class ( is that still a thing?) except the one guy who told us he was living in his parent’s basement. As we had an informal poll (80 for Clinton, 30 for Sanders 10 undecided) I realized that it wasn’t JUST that our our neighborhood is homogenous, but that also caucuses are elitist. It takes resources to leave your job and or find childcare to participate in a caucus. It was as if the whole room was filled with museum docents…lovely, educated elderly ladies and gentlemen with white hair.
There was lots of speaking in support of candidates. Then the final vote. (80 for Clinton, 30 for Sanders, 10 undecided.) As it turns out no one needed a calculator. Except to figure out how MANY people skipped this voting process compared to an open primary.