Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Caucus Training

I have volunteered to work with the Nevada Democratic Party for the 2020 Nevada Caucuses ("First in the West"). The 2016 Caucus was a bit of a mess, and the party is working to try and not repeat mistakes made last time around. For example, There will be early voting the week before the caucus, so that the preferences of party members who cannot attend the actual caucus can be recorded. They'll even be using a preferential (instant-runoff) ballot, which of course I am very familiar because that's what we use for the Hugo Awards and Worldcon/Westercon site selection. I've already completed a couple of online training classes that are prerequisites for working on caucus day, and today was the first of two "volunteer summits" where we'd get the rest of the orientation for the big day next month.

Caucus Training

I got to the Washoe County/Nevada State Democratic Party headquarters office in Reno about 30 minutes before the scheduled start time, and I'm glad I didn't arrive any later, as it appears a lot more people turned up than originally expected, and there were only two computers in their registration area. We started an hour late because they did need to get everyone into the computers. That's because at the end of the course we were sent links to the online applications we will need to do our jobs on caucus day. (There are paper records that are the official record of the caucus, but having the online applications speeds up counting and reporting.)

Although there were (barely) enough chairs, I would have to say that there really wasn't enough room to do this training comfortably. We were split into four roughly equal-sized groups, and the trainers rotated between the groups. The organizers told me that for the second and final session (for those people who couldn't make this one), they are going to scout around to try and get a bigger room.

Caucus Training Certificate

After several hours of breakout sessions and then a final general session where they worked us through the process of loading the caucus app onto our smartphones (it's not just something that you download from the App Store), we were issued our training certificates, thanked for volunteering, and sent on our way around 6 PM, a bit over four hours after I arrived. I'd planned to do several errands in Reno after the training, but it was too late to get to Staples, so I just went to Winco foods for some groceries that Lisa asked me to pick up on the way home.

I've volunteered to be a "Temporary Precinct Chair" (in nearly all cases, the TPC is elected the Permanent Chair by acclamation, mainly because hardly anyone else wants to do the work). I was fortunate in that nobody had yet applied to be the TPC for Lyon County precinct 40, where I live, so I get to chair my local precinct. Now according to the records I looked up, there are only about 250 Democrats registered for my precinct, and in 2016, only 30 of us showed up in person. This time around, those of us who attend on February 22 will be added to those who vote in advance to determine our allocation of delegates to the county convention on April 18. The county convention will then elect delegates to the state convention, which in turn will determine the Nevada delegation going to Milwaukee WI in July.

I volunteered this year because it seemed to me that last time around, our TPC was not really confident about the caucus process. I understand it, and also this time they've made it easier and given us a better outline to follow. On the other hand, as the Precinct Chair, it turns out that it's more difficult for me to be selected as a delegate to the county convention, which I'd like to try to do again as I did in 2016. (I'm not that interested in the state or national conventions; Westercon and Worldcon have too much call on my time.) However, even if I only put in the several hours in February to help keep my little corner of one county organized, I feel like I'm doing my part to help the process along.
Tags: politics

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