By Paul Hill
HOUSTON – I was a poll worker today in the primary election. Never have we seen such a turnout in the Democratic primary in our previously Republican dominated precinct. The flow of voters was constant all day long and the Democratic Party poll workers were horribly understaffed. Our Republican counterparts were overstaffed. We had a number of people voting in the Democratic primary who declared they had previously voted Republican and had “had enough.” Nearly 700 people voted in two combined precincts in the Democratic primary whereas 150 voted in one precinct in the Republican primary in the same location. We literally ran out of the documents needed to allow people to attend the caucus and had to improvise. In our previously Anglo dominated precinct, it was wonderful to see large numbers of Latinos, African Americans, Asians and Anglos voting for change. The ethnic diversity of the voters was truly magnificent.
The caucus was held in the evening and was astonishing. About 10 people attended the caucus in 2004 and 2006, whereas today 140 people attended. The caucus was held in the evening starting about 7:30pm and ending at 10:30pm. This meant that people had to either stay after the polls closed or return to the polling site in order to attend. Our designated area was really small and people were extremely crowded, but they persisted to support their candidates. The result was close to 50/50 with a slight edge to Clinton in this very conservative precinct. Clinton supporters and Obama supporters both stepped up to the plate and helped organize the convention so it went very smoothly.
The fabulous thing that happened was that in this previously Anglo dominated precinct, the permanent precinct convention chair elected was an African American male supporter of Clinton. The permanent precinct convention secretary was an African American female supporter of Obama. I thought this outcome was indicative of the unity we can expect when the final candidate is selected. It also suggests a loud cry for change.
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