Saturday, February 01, 2014

A local party caucus demands more time from voters than a regular primary, and raises other issues

Today, Saturday February 1, 2014, I visited a party caucus for the first time, however briefly. This was the Democratic Party caucus for the Arlington County Board election.

I have worked as an “election judge” three times in the past, but this event is quite different from an election or even a primary. 

The process takes a little longer than a primary with voting machines.  You go past several stations, fill out a form, have it typed into a computer (PII, not sure how safe it is), and fill out a paper ballot.  You rank the candidates, so there can be multiple ballots.  The place was pretty crowded, and high school and middle school students were directing cars onto the mud lot.  This was held at the Kenmore Middle School, which has a new building, replacing the low-rise when I subbed there in 2005.  A new building probably helps with student behavior.

I did not stick around for multiple ballots, but many people did.

There are some interesting local issues, such as building a streetcar line on a road that is halfway between the two major Metro lines. 

Candidates were present, dressed in business suits, greeting people.
I sometimes get asked why I won’t run for office.  I actually considered running for the US Senate from the Libertarian Party in Minnesota in 2000, but a more aggressive and suitable candidate (especially on the Second Amendment issues) appeared, fortunately.  People say that only in office can you affect policy.   I say that in fact bloggers and artists affect perception and therefore policy, sometimes without having to compete with others in a no-gatekeeper environment.  That can be  a double-edge proposition, and become existential.  If the world is so corrupt that I don’t want to run through regular channels, why should I care if my writing makes a difference?  And the “umbrella nature” of my news coverage (how that came to be is another discussion) may simply be seen as baiting people into doing outrageous things with the idea that a blogger like me has to write about and draw attention to them.

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