History, politics, people of Oly WA

Month: February 2008 (Page 3 of 3)

Day of caucus notes

Stopped by county headquarters to pick up some filled out proxy forms for my site, and a fellow came in to ask some questions about caucuses. Mostly had to do with how long it would take (you can sign in and leave, takes about 20 minutes at least) and how late he can show up (don’t show up later than 1:30 or you’re toast).

This is all information that was available online in a dozen or so locations, but he decided to stop by the county party headquarters to find out. Just reminds me that people like to get information in a myriad of ways.

I’ve been home for two hours sweeping and mopping
, and I’ve gotten two robo calls. This is added to the three I got earlier this week.

I was talking to one of my work mates all week about the caucus. We talked about where he should go, what he should expect and how to get the most out of the process. Late yesterday as I was leaving he tells me that it turns out he can’t go, his roof is leaking and he needs to take care of it.

Leaks happen. Democrats should realize that.

Fuse points the light on our bad attitude about caucuses

One of the arguments for the caucuses back less than a year ago when we were debating which process to use was that people should get out of their houses and caucus. It wasn’t an argument about whether people would, but that it was morally better to engage in person than through a slip of paper.

Sure, I’ll agree with that. Showing up is way better in all regards of democracy. But, most folks (90 percent of voters lets say) still won’t be bothered.

But, of course everyone that voted to have the caucuses will show up, so we tend to have a holier than though attitude about this kind of stuff.

Fuse Washington shows exactly how holier than though. They put together a list of all the reasons someone can’t attend a caucus. Of course they forget about “I have to work,” but they bother to put in my wife’s reason for not going:

I don’t have childcare

Bring the kids with you! Anyone can attend the caucus (although you have to be 18 years old by election day to particpate). Then you can make them write a paper on the democratic process.

My son will be napping throughout the caucus process, so we’re under no circumstances bringing him to a crowded room full of excited Democrats. And, if we did have childcare, who do you think is providing that childcare?

Someone shut out of the caucus.

And I thought our caucuses were bad (closed caucuses in Montana)

Our caucuses that will get a ten percent voter turnout are bad, but not this bad (via Left in the West):

Only party leaders will vote in today’s Republican presidential caucuses in Montana, but many in the rank-and-file apparently didn’t get the word.

“The public thinks there’s a Republican election tomorrow,” Deb Mart, elections supervisor for Cascade County, said Monday. “There’s not.”

Northcentral Montana clerk and recorders were besieged by calls from residents about where and when to cast ballots in today’s Republican caucuses, which are advertised as part of Super Tuesday.

At least we invite the public, yikes.

By the way, I got the total turnout number by assuming about 200,000 turnout to both the Dem and Republican caucuses together and dividing it by the number of registered voters in 2007. Montana Republicans may suck more, but we still suck.

Crist v. Baird, will she get Move On help?

One interesting note from the Thurston Democrats meeting on Monday that I forgot to pass on:

Cheryl Crist, who ran against Brian Baird in 2006 2004, is going at it again. The difference this time is that Baird made waves in Southwest Washington (and the country for that matter) by supporting the Iraq surge.

Before finally announcing her run on Monday, she’s been getting some vocal support:

Linda spoke about the need to get the attention of those who represent us in Washington, DC. The people are angry that their voices are not being heard. “I am pleased to tell you that Cheryl Crist is seriously considering running against Brian Baird in the Democratic primary,” she told the audience. Cheryl rose to a standing ovation. It was another gift this holiday season for those who have begun to lose faith in the political system.

She was also listed at a potential “Peace Candidate” here.

Though not the most liberal of congressmen, Baird certainly didn’t face much discontent among Dems in 2006, especially given the blue wave that year. No one was going to waste time challenging a sitting Dem when we had so many Republicans to beat.

But, this time around, it might be different for Crist. People have been downright disappointed with Baird. So, if Moveon is still as serious as they were last September when they were considering putting money behind D challengers, Crist might have a better (or at least better funded) chance this year.

From the Hill:

“There are a few key things to keep in mind,” the e-mail said. “We would only get involved in a primary race if MoveOn members in the district or state wanted to — and a majority supported that primary challenger. And we’d focus on races where a progressive had a good chance of beating the sitting Democrat and also winning the general election.”

Last month, the group began airing ads in Rep. Brian Baird’s (D-Wash.) district. Following a trip to Iraq, Baird had announced that he would withdraw his support for a withdrawal deadline and wanted to give the troop surge more time, saying that it is showing positive results.

We may not have to pay for postage on mail-in ballots

But, even more drop off boxes might be even more ideal. Maybe we can call it a “drop off” election.

Small brew-haha in Thurston County last fall when an old fellow decided not to put postage on his ballot. The ballot was delivered anyway, and the county started sending him stamps, avoiding pissing the guy off, but raising the question of why ballots don’t come with pre-paid postage in the first place.

Previous entries on the topic:
Thurston County can afford to pay for our ballots to be mailed
Why do we need to pay for stamps to vote anyway?

Well, if a bill passes this legislative session, the state will require counties to pay postage on ballots. SB 6199 (HB 1483 in the House) will have a public hearing in the Government Operations & Elections committee on Monday morning.

The house version was heard last year. Here’s the audio file.

Sam Reed, former Thurston County auditor and now secretary of state, pointed out that Thurston did at one point pay for ballot postage during special elections in the late 80s. He said that paying for postage didn’t boost participation, and that the county would pay for postage anyway if someone didn’t affix a stamp.

I think that Reed’s experiment was too inconsistent to get a real sense of whether it would increase participation.

Kim Wyman said something interesting that by expanding permanent drop off boxes open during the election cycles, they were able to somewhat solve the postage as poll tax complaint. Twenty-five percent of voters in Thurston County used a drop box during the last election, she said. Here are the drop off box locations in Thurston County.

Here is the bill analysis (pdf file).

The fiscal note (pdf file) on the bill pegged the cost at $2.5 million every two years for the state (as they would reimburse the county for the cost). The cost per ballot could go about the going rate for mail because of the size of some ballots in some counties.

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