Attending a Caucus

Attending a Caucus

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For my Advanced Topics homework assignment this week, I attended the DFL caucus at Middle School, the evening of Super Tuesday. As has been stated by countless others, the evening was one of “DFL Caucus Madness.” I arrived at quarter to 7 and only barely found parking spot at the far end of the bus parking lot. Luckily I found a group of fellow high school students on my way in, and we pretty much stayed together for the rest of the night. Jordan, Claire, Megan and I all live east out of town, which means that we all belong to the Northfield Township. Going into the night none of us knew that important bit of information seeing as none of us had ever caucused before. Once we figured out which room to go to, we jammed ourselves into one of the many classrooms being used for the event. Jammed is certainly the right word, and soon enough people were spilling out into the hallway. So, with quite a bit of waffling back and forth, the Northfield Township voters went out into the commons area where we all signed in and cast our votes on pieces of scratch paper. We tried to stay and get involved in the election of precinct chairs and delegates but there was simply too much noise and we were very confused about what we were supposed to be doing. There was a rumor about a larger debate at 8 pm in the auditorium, so we left our township caucus and set out to figure out what was going on. In the end we learned that the huge crowd had caused the debate to be cancled, so we left to go home after a busy, confusing, but gratifying evening at the DFL caucus.

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It should be noted at this time just how overwhelming all this confusion and moving around was to us first time caucus goers, but I am sure that the new record breaking numbers had everyone at the convention feeling just as flabbergasted. For, as Mr. Coudret himself stated, “the largest caucus [he] had ever attended [for our area] was 1000 voters, and last night there were at least 3000!” The Northfield News certainly paid attention to the numbers, reporting that “cars stretched out Division Street all the way to Woodley at 7:45 p.m.… and party members were making their own spots on the grass and on the roads” (Smith). The evening certainly was a success, and there is obviously a huge number of party members who want to make their voices heard this coming presidential election. What is possibly the coolest thing about the whole evening is really just the huge number of youth that I could see out at the caucus. There was a rather large group of high school and college students, very few middle aged people, more 45-60 year olds, and a good portion of elderly voters too.
Clearly the results are what we’re most interested in! After going through this whole process just to add one vote, we want to learn how it turned out. So, here it is: With 100% reporting for the Rice County, Barack Obama took a clear lead with 2073 of the total 2828 DFL voters from last night. That’s 73%, vs Hillary Clinton’s 739 votes, or 26%. Other voters were either uncommitted or for John Edwards, who, unfortunately for them, dropped out of the Presidential race recently. These results were recorded from the CNN website which posted the Minnesota caucus results at http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/county/#val=MNDEM7.
My closing thoughts for you are these. I am very glad that I did attend a caucus, however I was a little discouraged by the lack of organization, and I feel like first time caucus voters should have a separate place to go to, just to be briefed on what they can expect and where they should go. I had been looking forward to the debate in the auditorium so it’s too bad that that didn’t work out also. But overall I’m glad I am finally old enough to cast a vote and help elect who should be our nation’s next president.
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