Monday, March 24, 2008

This caucusing crap!

I must say that the more I pay attention to the Democratic caucuses and primaries this year, the more discouraged I get about American politics in general.

States have been holding these caucuses and primaries every four years, and now in the year 2008 they still can't get it right?

I just found this blog entry today, from a woman who went and "caucused" on Feb 9, and walked into a scene of total chaos because very few people knew what to do and the volunteers who were supposed to stand around and know what was going on...didn't know what was going on.

I went and caucused today

Here's an excerpt:

I've always thought that the caucus system in Washington State disenfranchised voters --

the sizable chunk who simply aren't aware that their vote on the primary ballot doesn't count for anything,

those who can't get off work for the caucus (unlike polling places which are usually open much of the day, for a caucus there's really a set 30 minute period in which you need to show up),

those with transportation difficulties (for those who can walk, it's a great spot -- but for those who can't, there is virtually no parking, and street parking on that block is generally sparse to begin within on a weekend afternoon)
But the fact that I saw so many different barriers to successful voting even for those who *were* able to show up, that is just seriously upsetting for me. Not only were many people unable to figure out how to get to the upstairs room, but once within the rooms, it was pretty complicated to figure out where you were supposed to be going (there was a separate table for each precinct), and what you were supposed to do when you get there (there were sheets floating around you were supposed to sign in on, but it was too crowded for any lines).

On top of that, when I looked at the sheet you sign in on, absolutely no one else on my sheet had realized that the sign-in sheet is where you actually vote -- there was a box on the far right-hand corner where you were supposed to write in your choice for candidate, and no one else had filled in that blank at all. That part of the form was not labeled in the same way as the rest of the boxes (which had the standard, bold-faced, small print labels) -- instead, it said "Indicate presidential preference" in a very pale grey font across the background of the box. Given that we were in a crowded room with poor lighting (not to mention ventilation), and no instructions were being given, is it that surprising that so many people just had no clue?

It's time for the election process in this country to be streamlined and moved into the 21st century, because this is just ridiculous.

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