NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

NPI boardmembers reflect on their 2016 Democratic presidential caucus experiences

Edi­tor’s Note: Although NPI is not affil­i­at­ed with a polit­i­cal par­ty, does not endorse can­di­dates, and does not engage in elec­tion­eer­ing for or against any can­di­date, NPI’s lead­ers are involved in Demo­c­ra­t­ic pol­i­tics as indi­vid­u­als, and par­tic­i­pat­ed in this morn­ing’s Wash­ing­ton pres­i­den­tial precinct cau­cus­es.

As our board­mem­bers each reside in a dif­fer­ent precinct in the Puget Sound area, we asked them to share a few words about their cau­cus expe­ri­ence. The com­men­tary and report­ing that fol­lows reflects the per­son­al views of each indi­vid­ual mem­ber of the board, and not NPI as a whole. 

NPI Direc­tor Gael Tar­leton, report­ing from SEA 36–2511:

What a great morn­ing! I walked into North Beach Ele­men­tary at 9:20 am, and precincts were divid­ed into two large spaces. By 9:45 it was stand­ing room only in the gym, so my precinct and 2 oth­ers were des­ig­nat­ed to relo­cate to the school library.

Turnout was aston­ish­ing — hun­dreds of peo­ple, maybe as many as 700? I did­n’t have time to go into every sin­gle one of the cau­cus areas but esti­mat­ed about 300–350 in the gym.

It was so fun — fifty-nine peo­ple of all ages cau­cused in my precinct. Some brought their kids or grand­kids. Some were long-time res­i­dents and some had just moved to Seat­tle from oth­er states. Mona McPhee, our PCO/Caucus Chair, did not arrive until 10:20 AM. The group had elect­ed me to serve as Cau­cus Chair in case she did­n’t show. But she did make it, and did a fan­tas­tic job run­ning the cau­cus. I was appoint­ed Precinct Sec­re­tary to take the offi­cial min­utes. Three oth­ers vol­un­teered to do bal­lot count­ing and tal­ly­ing of del­e­gates.

Then we did speech­es. Bernie sup­port­ers split up their 3 min­utes com­ments between two speak­ers. A total of 6 peo­ple spoke for Hillary (very eco­nom­i­cal use of words!).

No one changed their pre­ferred can­di­date after the speech­es, so the orig­i­nal vote count stood: 33 for Hillary at 56 per­cent, 26 for Bernie at 44 per­cent, none uncom­mit­ted.

The cau­cus­es quick­ly select­ed their del­e­gates and alter­nates — 3 del­e­gates for Hillary, 1 del­e­gate for Bernie. A few of our cau­cus goers did not agree with the for­mu­la being used to allo­cate our 4 del­e­gates‎. We did all the tal­ly­ing and allo­ca­tion deci­sions in front of the cau­cus.

Before we adjourned, one of the del­e­gates asked that we all com­mit to vot­ing for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty nom­i­nee. She said, Please don’t decide to not vote if your choice is not the nom­i­nee. We are Democ­rats and we must vote. This elec­tion may decide the fate of our democ­ra­cy and every­one needs to vote. We all applaud­ed and said “Yes”!

We adjourned at 11:22 AM.

Many thanks to the 36th Dis­trict Demo­c­ra­t­ic vol­un­teers who ran the North Beach Cau­cus­es! It’s a lot of work and things went smooth­ly, espe­cial­ly in light of the huge turnout.

NPI Pres­i­dent Robert Cruick­shank, report­ing from SEA 36–2520:

It was clear from the first cau­cus­go­ers to show up to our precinct meet­ing at Whit­man Mid­dle School in North­west Seat­tle that Bernie was going to have a big day, and that’s how it turned out. The final count in our precinct was 59 votes for Bernie and 15 for Hillary, which pro­duced a 5–1 split among our precinct’s del­e­gates.

As we got the cau­cus under way, State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Noel Frame — cel­e­brat­ing her birth­day today by chair­ing her precinct’s cau­cus — led the entire room in a rous­ing chant of “this is what democ­ra­cy looks like!” and urged par­tic­i­pants to con­tin­ue the fight for pro­gres­sive val­ues in down­bal­lot races.

She got a very pos­i­tive recep­tion to that impor­tant mes­sage.

We had a reveal­ing moment at our precinct cau­cus. There was one vote for “uncom­mit­ted,” and she took her 3 min­utes to ask sup­port­ers of both can­di­dates if they would com­mit to vot­ing for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in Novem­ber — even if that can­di­date wasn’t the one they sup­port­ed today. Every sin­gle one of the precinct cau­cus par­tic­i­pants raised their hands.

Despite Repub­li­can hopes, our par­ty will be unit­ed to stop whichev­er extrem­ist the GOP nom­i­nates for pres­i­dent this year.

NPI Direc­tor Mario Brown, report­ing from Edmonds 40:

My precinct, Edmonds 40, had 57 total bal­lots. I assigned a tal­ly clerk and Sec­re­tary. My neigh­bors were there ear­ly and en masse. We could not all fit in the hall for the 10 AM intro­duc­to­ry speech.

I was asked to give the dona­tion pitch. I asked who was ready for Hillary and got applause and the I asked with was feel­ing the Bern and got thun­der­ous applause.

Then we broke into our precincts and I col­lect­ed all the forms.

We did a count and told the group the results, peo­ple con­tin­ued to come in before the final count and we are very proud to say the we count­ed every vote. We did allow speech­es while the count was being done, but no one switched. ‎

In the end, we had 5 del­e­gates and Bernie got 4 and Hillary got 1. Every­one left feel­ing heard and includ­ed and ready do more.

NPI Trea­sur­er Essie Hicks, report­ing from ISS 05–2806:

I have been prepar­ing for the Issaquah Mid­dle School Area Cau­cus for sev­er­al months because I was help­ing to run it with my good friend Ava Frisinger, who has led sev­er­al cau­cus­es. I had the sup­port of great peo­ple in the 5th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict, who met fre­quent­ly to train each oth­er on how to suc­cess­ful­ly run a cau­cus, and famil­iar­ize our­selves with all of the forms. I loved meet­ing new friends along this learn­ing process and talk­ing with Hillary and Bernie sup­port­ers.

My morn­ing start­ed at 7 AM. I packed my car full of all my sup­plies, equip­ment, and dou­ble checked my check­list. I showed up as ear­ly as Issaquah Mid­dle School would allow me to, and start­ed set­ting up a sign in desk out­side, a white­board with sug­ges­tions, polit­i­cal mate­ri­als, and start­ed putting vol­un­teer but­tons on ear­ly arrivals.

I was so grate­ful to get so many will­ing and help­ing hands. We all set up the tables, precinct signs, and tech­nol­o­gy togeth­er and before I knew it the room was full of peo­ple try­ing to find their precinct.

Web­sites were down, peo­ple were milling around with their smart­phones, the Infor­ma­tion Desk was full, and we were all work­ing togeth­er to help each oth­er. Every­one was help­ing.

I was so hap­py to meet peo­ple who were just observ­ing. They were not eli­gi­ble to vote. They just want­ed to be there and see how it hap­pened. They were just hap­py to help.

Some peo­ple came too late, and that made me real­ly sad, because I could see how much they real­ly want­ed to par­tic­i­pate.

We suc­cess­ful­ly closed our cau­cus and stayed lat­er with precincts who need­ed extra help. We dis­cussed res­o­lu­tions and cleaned up togeth­er. Peo­ple helped me pack my van, and many vol­un­teers stayed with me until every sin­gle thing was done. After the car was packed, I drove to Car­na­tion where 5th Dis­trict Cau­cus lead­ers kept rolling.

We unpacked all of our gear and our dis­trict lead­ers had every­thing laid out so we could sort through every­thing, tal­ly our results and get them into the State Par­ty. Our lit­tle band of 5th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict vol­un­teers is clear­ly grow­ing. One of the precinct lead­ers who we had to call to ask a ques­tion of, said, “Well, if you have a ques­tion, and I can help, I’ll just come down there.” She stayed until 10:30 PM tonight. It is now 11:55 PM, and I’m now end­ing my night with this lit­tle sto­ry about my 2016 Cau­cus expe­ri­ence which I will nev­er for­get.

Thank you to all of the Democ­rats of the twen­ty-five Issaquah Precincts which Ava Frisinger and I had the plea­sure of lead­ing through a suc­cess­ful Cau­cus. I hope to see all of you in the next four years or so. Thank you for help­ing each oth­er, help­ing me, and mak­ing this a great expe­ri­ence. We are elect­ing a Demo­c­rat in 2016.

NPI Direc­tor Ralph Gorin, report­ing from Mean­der:

In my area, big crowd. We filled the mid­dle school cafe­te­ria and gym.

In my precinct there were 21 par­tic­i­pants (count­ing sur­ro­gate forms).
15 for Hillary, 6 for Bernie. 2 del­e­gates for Hillary, one for
Bernie. My precinct adjourned at 11:20 AM.

In my area, the sta­tis­tics were reversed com­pared to my precinct:
about 2 to 1, Bernie over Hillary. I stayed to help oth­er precincts and to help with the cleanup. We were done with it all by 1:30 PM.

Lots of peo­ple stayed to help.

with more reports to fol­low.

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One Comment

  1. Great cov­er­age, I put some pic­tures of the Maple Val­ley Area cau­cus on my blog which you can access by click­ing on my name.

    # by Mike Barer :: March 27th, 2016 at 9:21 PM