delegates that is…to the County Assembly…for our preferred candidate for U.S. Senate.
The first step in any caucus is to find your precinct if your location has multiple precincts. At Lewis Palmer High School, for what is called the County Line Central neighborhood, we had 12 precincts including some newly created ones that were parceled out from previously larger precincts. We have found that many people just don’t recall what their precinct number is so we brought precinct maps and a laptop with a list of all democrats in El Paso County so that, even if you turned up to the wrong location we could have told you where to go. That didn’t happen, but about 75% of our caucus attendees needed a little assistance; the rest either had their voter card with them or had a good memory. Luckily, we also had help.
This year the attendance was down compared to 2008. This was not a big surprise to anyone. However, all precincts were represented and the attendance was still much higher than it had been in previous caucuses and the attendees were diligent in performing their civic duties. Our location was Lewis Palmer High School, which also hosted the Republican Caucus on the same night in a different room. Our room was the distance learning lab which was really very nice facility with semi-circular desks and rolling chairs. Someone in the know explained to us about the technology available in this room and how it is used to link up with kids at Palmer Ridge High School so that they can attend the same class with one group in the same room as the teacher and the other school being the “distance” part of the equation. We didn’t get to leverage any of that technology but it was very nice to see it being made available to the kids in our community.
Caucus goers voted for their preference for U.S. Senate candidate–Bennet v. Romanoff and performed the lower math functions to figure out if candidates got enough votes to meet the threshold requirements, then did the higher math functions to figure out how many delegates each candidate won. After that, they for delegates and alternates in equal numbers to go on to the County Assembly on behalf of the candidate. Other things that happen include electing a precinct chair for the next two years who will attend training, perform precinct duties and attend 2-4 central committee meetings per year or send in a proxy. This is a very important position in each precinct, which is the smallest unit of the political party, since they rally the troops, get out the vote, etc. It is also an elected position of some responsibility so every was reminded to run only if they felt they could perform the duties. The caucus is also a great time to sign up to be an Election Judge–one of the many people who run the logistics at the polling place on election day. The El Paso County Clerk and the Election Board are always looking for a few good judges to make sure the elections run smoothly. Finally, resolutions are proposed, voted and recorded to go on to a crack team of resolution compilers, who try to read any handwritten ones that pass and summarize and put it all in a form to be voted on at the County Assembly. Then, the night is over for caucus attendees but the caucus chair needs to stay to make sure the paperwork is turned in to the location manager who reviews it and makes sure all the forms are filled in correctly and legibly.
As a reward for all hard work, refreshments were provided to be consumed before, during and after the proceedings. Once the caucus attendees, caucus chairs filed out, the final step was to clean up the room, review the packets one more time, put everything back where it started and then head home. Actually, the location manager wasn’t quite done yet–he had to take all the completed packets in to the El Paso County Democrats representative who gathered them from the entire House District and took them in to El Paso County Democrat HQ. Tomorrow we should know the results then it is on to the County Assembly on April 10th at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs.