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Picture of the Day

March 26, 2016

Caucus day here in WA, got up early to beat the line, the gym at Miller Community Center quickly filled to capacity. The vibe was low-key and pleasant, I took a seat near my precinct table (1870) and watched the process, trying to figure it out as well as monitor for shenanigans. I didn't see any intentional manipulation, but it was striking how there wasn't much direction provided. I helped people get their ballots in the right stacks and reminded them to sign and, in surprisingly many cases, indicate their candidate preferences. This actually helped the Clinton side more than Sanders but I was committed to being impartial. I entertained myself by trying to guess which pile people would add their ballots to and got it right 90% of the time. The older and/or more well-groomed a person was, the greater the chances they were dotting i's and crossing t's; younger and scruffier went for Sanders, though there were exceptions on both sides. It was funny how informal many were, writing in simply either Bernie or Hillary, though Bernie! won in the exclamation mark category.
As the sheets piled up they seemed pretty even. When it came time to count I volunteered as tally clerk, and that's where

things got a little shaky. The simple count was 89-40 for Sanders, but 20 of his and 5 of Clinton's ballots were surrogates,
which someone at the table declared invalid. When we sought advice from someone higher up who presumably understood the process, he said the stack that was on the table at the beginning was valid and placed there by the Democratic Committee that morning. There was a stack of ballots when I got there, but there were no instructions provided and no signifier of validity (a stamp would have been simplest). My wife Sarah's surrogate affidavit should have been there but wasn't. Another person's was there in quintuplicate. (We threw those out.) How difficult would it have been to put all the surrogate ballots in a sealed envelope with instructions to count only after all the others had been tallied?

Speaking of smoke and mirrors, Crones of Chaos, Alvarius B., and Diminished Men crushed it at Blue Moon tonight.