The 2016 Colorado Democratic Caucuses

Part 3

Interesting the number of comments I’m seeing that boil down to “the Colorado Democratic caucuses were a shit-show”. This wasn’t my experience at all, but perhaps I’m being overly generous with my location? Or perhaps other folks had it a lot worse?

In all fairness, problems I saw/experienced:

  1. The Denver Democratic Party was clearly unprepared for the number of people who showed up. The caucus location should have been larger, or there should have been fewer precincts in my caucus location. They registered everyone who was in line by 7pm, but the wait meant that many people missed most, if not all, of the candidate speeches, etc. I think this directly lead to the next two issues.

  2. You couldn’t hear the speakers anyway. They didn’t have a sound system, so between the gymnasium’s poor acoustics and the sheer number of people there, I found everyone unintelligible.

  3. The precinct chair was pretty flustered, as people kind of arrived in waves. She wound up staying over a couple of times, and then eventually just held the entire meeting until an official could confirm that everyone who’d been registered for our precinct was in the room. Which, IMHO, was the right move, but seemed to annoy a lot of folks (particularly the Sanders-only crowd). The room was way too small, which also made vote tallying difficult. The packet of forms she had was also incomplete (which I read as just part of the usual screw-ups you get at any event), though we worked around that, and as a group approved the work-arounds.

So I guess you could look at all of that and think, “what a shit-show”. And I agree that the Denver Democrats should have anticipated higher turnout (I certainly planned on things taking a while, and blocked out my whole night). Or maybe, by the time it became obvious that they’d planned for to small of a turnout, it was too late? I honestly don’t know.

But what I can say is that, for the number of people there, I was impressed by how smooth things went. The gears kept turning, and everyone who was in line (who cared to stay) got registered and had a chance to participate. Things managed to start more-or-less on time. Nothing broker down, and exceptions that got made seemed obvious (I’m pretty sure they started the speakers once the gymnasium was full and all of the registration lines were inside the building – I did happen to be in the longest line at the end of it all), or were approved by everyone there (we don’t have worksheet XYZ, but it’s the same as worksheet ABC, so it’s everyone okay with me just using that one again?).

I think of this as process done right (part of which, incidentally, is knowing when and how it’s okay to violate your own process). Given the number of people who showed up at my caucus location, the night went much more smoothly than I expected.