Thursday, January 03, 2008

Kelly Drake: Report from Iowa City Precinct 14

Kelly Drake (email):
By now everyone has seen the results on CNN, MSNBC or any number of news outlets. From the frontlines in Iowa the results are just as fabulous for Obama. A college friend of mine who grew up in Iowa but never caucused went with me to her precinct tonight. I was excited and to keep our mouths from freezing we chatted about the process and how things ran in 2000 and 204 when I caucused in Johnson County, IA. As we walked into the front door of Mark Twain Elementary school someone was directing people.

Ironically, Republicans to the left and Democrats to the right.
The lines to register for the Democratic caucus were down the hallway and around the corner nearly to the other end (god bless same day voter registration!) and that was at 6:15 and the lines were closed at 7. The Democrats were literally packed into the gymnasium. There was a record breaking 424 people in attendance, even with the nearly a foot and a half of snow on the ground and below freezing temperatures. (So no more excuses Washingtonians!) Obama's campaign was set up to gather right as you entered the gym. As I looked at the crowd I was amazed by the sheer number of people in attendance, but also that the Obama crowd took up half of the gym.

7 pm. The caucus officially started and the precinct caucus chair read a letter from the Iowa Democratic Party Chair. Once the end of the line had registered and the last voter credentialed it was time to get down to the business at hand. One tiny problem. The room was far too small. There were so many people in attendance, that some caucus goers were lining the hallway. So it was decided to take the campaigns that were viable for at least one delegate to separate classrooms so that accurate counts could be taken. Obama's supporters took up 2 classrooms and the length of the hallway. Clinton had one classroom, as did Edwards. The threshold was 64 votes to receive a delegate. First count had Biden - 15, Clinton - 81, Dodd - 10, Edwards - 67, Gravel - 0, Kucinich -17, Obama - 192, Richardson - 25, and about 20 undecideds.

8:05 pm - 30 minutes for Second Redistribution started. Lots of people had questions about the basic math. And I was in charge of one of the Obama rooms, so I explained that you calculate the number of delegates by following the formula: (# of votes for candidate x # of delegates for precinct) / total # voters credentialed. Meanwhile, back in the gym people who were passionate for Obama spoke with those who either undecided or were supporting candidates that were not viable.

8:35 pm - Second redistribution counting began. Final count: Clinton - 88 (1 delegate), Edwards - 101 (1 delegate), Obama - 217 (5 delegates). According to the caucus rules a third distribution was required however seeing that there were no undecided voters remaining and all campaign representatives felt that the numbers were not going to drastically change the outcome the third count was considered to be consistent with the second. All parties agreed and Roberts rules of order was followed so there were no challenges to the votes.
So the final results were 53% Obama, 25% Edwards, 22% Clinton.

Kelly from Iowa, signing off and heading for warmer (albeit rainy) weather.

Fired Up! Ready to GO!
Howie P.S: Kelly has promised us some caucus photos when she returns to Seattle.



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