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.