I Attended a Caucus

This week I attended a caucus for the first time. Not knowing anything about such things, I honestly didn’t know what to expect…yet all of my preconceived notions turned out to be totally wrong. It was more of a gathering than a meeting, the format having a little bit of a community flu vaccination type arrangement. The first step of the U.S. election process consisted, at least in this case, of a very small bunch of quiet, mild-mannered, reasonable, grassroots folks, getting together at the local library around tables (one for each precinct) to talk about and name delegates to the county and state Republican Conventions. The small turn-out there surprised me, given the current state of political upheaval that brought me there. However, to be fair there were two official community meetings held elsewhere that same evening, one of which was the local school board discussing conceal-carry by school district staff, which you can imagine had an impact on attendance at the caucus. The number of people present for this half of Uinta County came nowhere near the number of delegates being selected, so they said that all of us could be delegates just for showing up.

When I arrived five minutes before the designated time, the organizers had just arrived also and had began setting up tables and chairs. Once they were ready, they had us all line-up and take turns helping some nice folks find us on a list of declared Republicans so that they could highlight our names as having attended the caucus. That was also when they found out what precinct we lived in in order to get ready for the next step.

(BTW, the images that I’m using in this article didn’t come from MY caucus…I didn’t think to take any pictures…however, it looked just like that! I lifted these images from an article in The Coloradoan about some caucuses in Larimer County. The above image is from a Democratic Caucus in Fort Collins. The cover image is of a Republican Caucus in Loveland.)

Each precinct sat at a separate table and made two lists of names…one of delegates for the Uinta County Republican Convention and one for the Wyoming Republican Convention. We were all put on the list if we would be willing and available to serve as delegates for the conventions. Others who were not present were also suggested by us to be added to the lists.

The nice elderly lady in charge of our table of five, who was a member of the Precinct 1-1 Committee, quietly wrote “First Alternate” next to my name. I asked her what it meant and I think she said that it refers to those who can temporarily hold the credentials of one if the committee members at the convention if they step out for a smoke or something. I am not sure at this writing if this applied to just me or also some of the other folks on the list with me. I gave them my phone number and I’ll ask when they call.

You maybe shouldn’t trust the news media when they say that this level of government is back-filled with fire-eyed, good-ol-boy, party loyalists…for I am none of those things. I mean granted, attendance at this caucus was low, but anyone who has declared a party affiliation while voting (necessary to vote in the Primaries in Wyoming) could just walk in off the street and attend one of these things without an invitation and participate in selecting delegates.

I heard no one even ask for an ID and I saw none provided, but your mileage may vary depending on your location. Evanston is a fairly small town and there were several folks there who knew me from work association, church, and from when I ran for School Board.

I spent a total of an hour and a half of my time and I was only there mostly just to learn how this level of the process works. Now, just for the effort, I am involved in the process as a delegate where I can participate in setting policy preferences and choosing Republican candidates in the great state of Wyoming. I have voted in almost every election since I was old enough, but I now see that I’ve spent over 30 years missing out on a key, very influential step of the voting process. If I had known earlier how easy this was, then I maybe could have had the chance to vote against Donald “Scrooge McDuck” Trump early enough in the process for it to maybe mean a little something…at least to me.

Now that I’ve told you about it, you have no excuse.

Just sayin’.

I guess what I’m really sayin’ here is …

Quit your gripin’.

Get off your butt.

Get involved.

~ by Bill Housley on March 16, 2018.

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