Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Washington's presidential primary election and caucus combination is not unique

Many people have claimed that the presidential primary and caucus process in the state of Washington is unique in its combination of primary elections and caucuses to allocate delegates among the candidates.

Our Democrats don't allocate any delegates based on the votes cast by Democrats in the primary election. They use only their caucuses and conventions to allocate delegates.

Our Republicans allocate part of their delegates based on the votes cast by Republicans in the primary and part based on the caucuses and conventions.

Apparently, Washington is not unique in using both the election and the caucus process to allocate convention delegates. In Texas, the Democratic Party does something very similar to what is done by the Republican Party here in Washington, according to this McClatchy Newspapers article about a possible lawsuit involving the Democrats' process:

The letter to the two campaigns did not specify what procedures or rules might trigger a lawsuit. But one party official said the campaigns were most concerned about the caucus process, or, as the party refers to it, the "precinct conventions.''

Texas has 228 delegates, the biggest single cache remaining. But only 126 delegates are doled out based on the selection voters make at the ballot box. Another 67 delegates — more than in many states — are to be apportioned based on the number of people who participate in the caucuses that begin in over 8,000 precincts once the polls close at 7 p.m. (The remaining 35 are so-called "superdelegates'' free to support whomever they choose).

Holding caucuses on the evening of election day after the polls close is different from our parties' practice this year. Washington held its caucuses before the election, so caucus goers couldn't have known how the candidates would fare in the subsequent primary election (not that our state's Democrats give a darn about the votes cast by ordinary Democrats who don't attend the caucuses). In Texas, the early vote counts will be available while the caucuses are ongoing, for whatever effect that may have on those in attendance.


Post a Comment

<< Home