How She Went Grocery Shopping and Wound Up Running a Caucus
Schutze's East Dallas comrade and Friend of Unfair Park Lorlee Bartos has been sending 'round town an e-mail bearing the subject heading: "Caucus at Precinct 3345 or why you should read your mail." I asked her if she minded whether we posted the missive; she said sure, as "it is the truth about what happened." So, after the jump, the awful -- which is to say, awfully funny -- truth about how you're probably not supposed to run a precinct convention. --Robert Wilonsky
Well, I was mostly minding my own business on my way to Whole Foods when I thought I would just stop by my Precinct and at least sign in for Hilary. So there I am at 6:45 -- chatting with a new neighbor. I am about the 25th person in line with the line continuing to grow behind me.
7 p.m. arrives. There are no voters in line so we expect they will open the door and let us in to start signing in. The line is now about 75 people. My lovely new neighbor and I are having a nice chat about the recent burglaries, her blues magazine and exchanging cards. At 7:15 the doors are still closed. The line is down the block and around the corner. So another neighbor and I go to the door to inquire and to say that they are supposed to be signing people in. Whereupon the election judge says she can't sign people in and that she is waiting for the person whose name is on the sheet.
Surprise, surprise -- it is MY name. Holy Crap. I am only here on happenstance, with my grocery list in my pocket.
So I look over the materials quickly -- set up 2 tables and start signing people in. I go out and announce that I will be starting the caucus and announce that in order to speed things along, I am going to trust that they have voted and just sign people in without checking the voter book.
There are an Obama operative and a Clinton operative who object that this isn't procedure and that they are going to be calling their lawyers -- My reply, "Well, you just go right ahead and do that." The Obama guy wanted to call a point of order -- which I ignored since he isn't a voter in this precinct and I don't think he has standing to do it. At the height, we had about 10 sheets going at once -- getting the basic info -- name, address, voter certificate if they had it or Drivers license and Presidential preference. We didn't bother with checking the under 35, gay, etc boxes at the end of the sheet -- Heck, with 2 point type, we couldn't read them.
By now, the Clinton and Obama guys have decided this is the best they are going to get and decide to helpful and forget calling their lawyers.
207 people signed in. 158 for Obama, 59 for Clinton. I appointed the Clinton and Obama guys to count figuring they would keep each other honest. 18 delegates for Obama and 6 for Clinton.
A permanent chair was elected, thankfully not me, 23 people wanted to be delegates for Obama and 7 for Clinton so everyone could go as either a delegate or an alternate. I left at 8:40 and never did get to Whole Foods.
So how do we think this happened -- well, 2 terms ago, I was the precinct chair. Didn't sign up the last 2 terms though I did run an election about a year ago. Got a card asking if I wanted to run the election this year and declined. There was a letter last week which I sent directly to the recycling bin since I knew I had declined the opportunity to run the election.
So had I decided not to stop by, 206 people might still be waiting in line at St. Lukes Church.
So I guess you should read your mail -- or the Democratic Party ought to believe me when I don't sign up to be precinct chair.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.
- The Cowboys' 5 Biggest Thanksgiving Turkeys
- Live From London: Your Holiday Weekend Weather Apocaforecast
- Oak Lawn Protesters Pick Fight With Philip Kingston