I'm not a happy person right now. My attempt to participate in the political process was a complete and total failure this morning, and I'm not sure any of it was my fault.
My opinion is that 95% of the blame belongs to the Benton County Republican Party. Instead of doing a few precincts at this high school and a few more precincts at this fire station, like other counties did, Benton County decided to 'centralize' things, and have everyone other than the folks in Prosser get together at the Three Rivers Convention Center, in Kennewick.
Disaster ensued. The caucus was supposed to go from 10-11:30, with check in being from 8:30-9:45. I showed up at 9:03...and did not make it to the front of the line by 9:45. Or 9:55. I made it to the front of the line at 9:58. It wasn't a slow moving line either..there were 8 different stations checking people in on the computer...verifying people were registered voters, and telling them their precinct numbers. I had already used the Washington State Secretary of State's website to identify my precinct...but I still had to stand in line because I didn't bring my voter registration card. I would estimate that when I got there, there well over 1000 people in line in front of me...and when I made it to the front of the line, there were at least 1500 behind me.
I almost made it...I was at the computer when whoever was in charge said the doors were being closed on the caucus rooms. It didn't matter to me...despite the fact that two days before, I had verified my address and precinct # on the Secretary of State' Website...whatever database the Benton County GOP was using didn't have my name in it.
I stood in line for an hour...and I was doubly screwed...ruled out by a computer database, and locked out because the rooms were already filled to capacity.
Because I'm getting better, I was very polite with the volunteer working the computer...and I'd like to think my politeness wasn't directly related to the fact that she was young, female, and of good breeding stock. She has been at the computer for an hour and a half, and was in danger of being locked out of her caucus room herself. She even showed my the computer screen...when my last name was put in, my first name did not show up. I simply thanked her, and walked away.
I didn't stick around to see what happened when the 1500(AT LEAST) behind were told they weren't going to be allowed in to the caucus rooms. Up to that point, the people had been very polite. The line had more twists, turns, and double back then you would encounter at Disney World, and was entirely self-policing. There were no posts, or ropes...just common Americans doing what is right. Turn out was at least 3 times what was expected, but THAT IS NO EXCUSE FOR PEOPLES VOTES NOT COUNTING!!!!!!!!!
I'm still very emotional about this...I have been looking forward to supporting Ron Paul at the caucuses all winter...I had even researched what dates the County and State Convention were, in case I got to be a delegate to those(April and June).
What a Cluster...the Tri-City Herald already has story about it...but I'm telling you, their numbers are low...if there were less than 1200 people turned away, I would eat mushrooms with my dinner tonight.