The caucus was an absolute zoo. First of all, turnout was probably twice as high as was expected. We had, easily, 600 people in our area, packed into the Maywood Elementary gymnasium. Out of those 600 people, split between 14 precincts, we only had 2 PCOs (Precinct Committee Officers) show up. And one of them was Erik. This means that Erik and this other guy basically had to lead the entire caucus; they were the only people there who really knew what was going on. Fortunately, people were very patient.
The din was unbelievable. As soon as I got there Erik had me run around and tell all the acting PCOs -- people who had stepped up to lead the process -- that if someone was committed to their vote, didn't want to sway other people, and had no interest in being a delegate, that they could leave. A lot of people were misinformed and telling folks they had to stay the whole time. That took some of the pressure off, but it was still just crazy. My first caucus, twelve years ago, three people showed up from my precinct, myself and a married couple in their seventies. Yesterday, my precinct had 62 people show up. Sixty-two!
The noise level was so bad Erik had to have me lead the precinct meeting because he couldn't be heard. I was yelling -- not speaking with projection, but yelling -- as loud as I could and I could still barely be heard. And those of you who know me in person know that I can yell pretty damn loud. That's one thing you can count on me for, is loud. As a result, a lot of people thought that I had much, much more of a clue than I did, which didn't help the general atmosphere of chaos any.
I had originally intended to caucus for Gravel and then throw my support to Obama, but I abandoned that plan pretty quickly because the caucus didn't need any more monkey wrenching than it already had. So I just signed in for Obama and then ran around trying to help things run a tiny bit smoother, which I don't know if I actually accomplished. But given that we had no area leader, no PA system, no microphone, not even any bullhorns? HAving someone with a half a clue and a powerful set of lungs was actually pretty valuable.
Anyway, my precinct had 7 delegates, and we went 5 for obama and 2 for clinton, and 2 undecided people showed up specifically to learn more, and did so quite successfully. And we signed a bunch of people up to become PCOs for next time, and registered a lot of people to vote. Erik was at Denny's until basically 8 PM tabulating everything.
Better than the GOP though, who -- with 12.8% of precincts still uncounted, and the votes at a 26% / 24% / 21% / 17% split -- simply stopped counting ballots and declared McCain the winner! That's McCain / Huckabee / Paul / Romney in the numbers, btw. And unlike the Democrats, the GOP caucuses are winner-take-all (all together now: "Of course they are!") so this is really important. And, as solarbird points out, who's going to make them count the final 12.8%? The national GOP, who's as desperate as the WSRP to prevent a Huckabee win?