I volunteered to be at the ballot box for our neighborhood caucus on Tuesday night – I thought it meant just standing at the box like a guard. I can be a guard and say thank you for voting but it also means counting the ballots at the end of the evening. I was not sure about that part.
So here is what happened. I was working to be the quiet person in the back – Thank You Sir, Thank you Miss. The first part of the evening was great. I chatted with neighbors thank them for voting and let them know they could go sit for a few minutes before the caucus meeting began. Shortly after 6:30 the registration line began to grow out the door, up the steps and I have no idea where it ended. People were check-in as quickly as they could. They voted – placed their vote in our box and either left or joined the meeting.
Here is where I wish I had reviewed my rules of caucusing. Since we were at the back of the room we became the go to place for questions.
- What do delegates do?
- How much time will it be if I decide to be a delegate?
- How many delegates do we have from our neighborhood?
- What is this whole caucus thing – this is my first one?
- I am from Mississippi – we never caucused – you mean I can just put a vote in now and them vote again in November?
- Who are these people on the ballot – I only know these two? Are the others any good?
- When will you be done counting?
- Are you counting them by hand? There are a lot of people here, thats a lot of counting?
- Did you know I am 98 and this is my first caucus. This is great fun – what do I do?
I realized my memory of how to caucus and what happens was pretty dim. All my teacher skills from teaching social students failed me. Remember I have been teaching 3rd, 4th and 5th grade for years. There I sat not able to explain well the details of this process. I won’t even talk about when the whole meeting ended and they all came to stand around and watch us count. There was lots of betting going on about who was going to win. 🙂 I didn’t really listen closely I was counting the 550 some ballots by hand.
That said – it was great to be in the middle of a democracy. It was great to help young ones who have never voted but will this year. It was great to work with the old folks – way older than me who were still real interested and want to know about all these people and this process.
So considering all the craziness of this election season. The ups and the downs of the campaign trail, the speeches and the awful twitter feed language I am still glad I live in a country where I can have a voice in the process.
Welcome to election year 2016!