I'd never caucused before in my life because I've never lived in a caucus state during a Presidential primary. Except for 2012, but I really didn't count 2012 because no one was going to run against Obama.
But 2016? Yes! My first caucus!!
Oddly enough, I was nervous.
I didn't quite know what to expect. Was it going to be all weird and coin-flippy, or highest-card-wins? We were gonna all be facing off in a room, going to our respective corners for a count? And then be all "My guy is better than your gal!" or "My gal is gonna kick your guy's ass!!"??
No. This is Minnesota. We don't do that stupid shit here. We go to our polling place, we find our friggin' rooms and we vote!!
And this is how that went...
When I drove up to Woodbury High School, traffic wasn't too bad. The parking lot was pretty open and I found a spot easily. I didn't have fly into one at 100 miles per hour to beat that other car that turned in the same lane, or beat someone's ass because we were going for the same spot at exactly the same time. I slid right on in there. YAY ME!
I got out and started walking. As I walked I thought, "Holy shit, this is a big parking lot!" and then I started looking around. People were streaming toward the building. A crap-ton of people and we were all headed to the same place.
It took me about five minutes to get to the corner and when I turned left? Sweet Baby Jesus in hemp sandals...
There had to have been at least 300 people out there waiting to get in. GAH! People! So... many.. PEOPLE!!
(I have a thing about crowds, but I digress)
I got in line and watched as literally hundreds more people came around that corner.
Men and women, tall people, short people, fat people, skinny people, gay people, straight people, old people, young people, Black people, Asian people, Hispanic people, White people, and every single one of those people was excited as hell to be there!
Finally the doors opened and we started shuffling in. Luckily for us, it was a big-ass school and there were four sets of double-doors for us to get through. On either side of each door were people asking
"Do you know what precinct you're in?"
For people who didn't know and asked the helpers, the response was, "I can't tell you what precinct you're in. Please go to that table over there and there will be a map."
I found that comforting because no one could claim that they were being told to vote in the wrong precinct.
Luckily for me, I brought my voter registration card with me so the lady said, "Room 206. Go through the cafeteria and follow the signs"
So I did.
As I made my way through the chaos, it only seemed disorganized. But it really wasn't. There were a lot of people glommed up in lines but that was only because they walked in clueless about how they were supposed to do this caucus thing.
Any confusion that occurred was a direct result of people showing up unprepared; showing up without having any idea what precinct they belonged to.
I don't get that. I do not get how people can be so excited to vote, but not excited enough to do a freaking google search to find out where their caucus location is or what precinct they're in?? I just wanted to slap the crap out of them.
Aaaaaanyway, I was able to find the room for my own precinct. I walked in and there was really cute little old man with a blue vest on. He handed me a sheet of paper and I signed in. Then he handed me a blue piece of paper with five names on it.
"I just put a check mark by the name?", I asked
He nodded, "Yes. You just put a check by the name. Then fold your ballot in half and put it in the box."
So, I did. And then I asked, "So I'm done now?"
"You're done", he said. "If all you wanted to do was vote, well you've done that".
As we were having our conversation and as I was voting, more people came in. This was a small room, mind you, and I don't like being in small places with a lot of people I don't know.
So I asked, "What happens at 7 o'clock?"
He explained it was just going to be precinct business and it was only going to last an hour.
I thought about staying but all the people and the small space was making my skin itch and my hair hurt.
So I left.
When I walked out of the room I was absolutely floored by the number of people in the hallways and in the cafeteria, trying to find their place. Hundred upon hundreds. When I walked out the door, there were no fewer than 500 people still waiting to get in and I passed at least 200 more.
In the fairly short time that it took me to walk from my car, vote, and walk back to my car, there had to have been at least 1000-1250 people there and more coming.