Friday, January 19, 2007

Counting at the Caucuses

Counting at the Caucuses

Loads of link love yesterday for Will the non-secret caucus ballot be a factor; thanks for reading. The other interesing caucus piece was from Geraldine at Iowa Progress. She does the county by county math for the `08 state convention.

However, she argues that the caucuses are "undemocratic." In fact they are a representative democracy, like any legislature. The idea is that at every Democratic convention or central committee meeting, the delegates and/or committee members are representing the caucus-going Democratic voters of their precinct or county. That's why none of the votes are secret.

It should also be noted that the counts she provides are for the STATE convention, and she's concerned that small sizes leave low-polling candidates unrepresented. Each county sets the size of its own COUNTY convention, and it's on that basis that COUNTY convention delegates are elected at the precinct caucuses.

I've done the math for this in Johnson County for a number of years; if anyone wants to see a monstor geeky elaborate Excel sheet let me know. Convention size is driven by the point at which the smallest precinct rounds up to one delegate. By "size" we mean vote for Democratic presidential candidate plus vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate. This seems fair and small d democratic; it takes into account population and party performance.

In Johnson County, our minumum county convention size for 2008 is 323 because we have one very small, not especially Democratic precinct. From there, convention size is determined by the will of the Central Committee as to how many seats we think we can fill - both in the delegate sense and in the convention hall sense.

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