[EDIT: MSNBC has a nice write up of the Washington State primary experience here.]
I’ve never caucused before, so I was looking forward to the experience. Caucusing in my little farming community of Duvall was done at the only elementary school in town.
Caucus process rules stated the caucusing (just keep saying it out loud over and over. Caucus. Caucus. Caucus.) began at 1:30. We were running a little late due to MASSIVE TURNOUT. The democratic caucus room was a small elementary school gym:
Then more people came, they suddenly had to scramble to bring in more tables, then more chairs.
More and more people started coming in, and it started to become SRO.
My rough count was well over several hundred people given the number of precincts and how many people were just in my precinct (which seemed small compared to the others). All this for a small farm town of a few thousand people.
Obama support was everywhere. People wearing buttons, and placards outside. There was not a single Hillary button to be seen, nor a poster.
We opened the caucus with the pledge of allegiance. It’s been a while since I spoke the words, and people were there, saying it loudly and saying it proudly. It felt good.
Immediately after it, people were chattering excitedly and shaking hands. Party business commenced for 15 minutes and then our Precinct officers obtained our caucus declaration sign-in sheets. I carefully printed out my information and signed for Obama and passed the sign-in sheet down. It all seemed so archaic doing everything with paper and pen and signatures but there was a camaraderie to it that made the process fun.
Our precinct was allocated four district delegates. On the first pass we were split 50% for Obama, 25% for Hillary, 25% undecided. Here’s where a caucus is far more fun than a primary. The Obama people had the numbers, so we were allowed to each speak with the undecideds first to sway their vote. Each one of us presented why we were for Obama. I went last and gave an abbreviated version of my blog entry from yesterday. Then the Clinton supporters got their turn.
In the end we won over the undecideds and my precinct voted to send three delegates for Obama and one delegate for Clinton to the district level. I was chosen as one of the delegates for Barack Obama. So on April 5th I will represent my area for Obama at the District level.
The whole process took about an hour and a half, and I met some great people who were super passionate about this election. The atmosphere was incredibly upbeat, and if my overhearing of the other table caucuses is any indication, I would estimate Obama won in a big way. Many people went to see him yesterday at his speech in Seattle, and those that went gave excited reviews of the speech to those that didn’t.
Yesterday I contributed to the Obama campaign, today I caucused for him and I will represent my area’s caucus vote for him at the district level. It’s hard to believe this election has really only just begun.