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There are only four caucus states left in our calendar, and I want to share some tips in general for people who will be attending these.  In short, I just want to make the point that we should be making every effort to court uncommitted voters...

The final caucuses will be in Maine, Hawaii, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico.  

I think that caucusing is so much more exciting than voting in a primary because it is a place where many undecided people come to hear others' points of view and pick a candidate based on what they learn.

It is important to remember that if you are fired up about Obama, it's your job to speak to the undecided in your precinct and do your best to persuade them to vote with you.

Having delegates go to "uncommitted" is a loss for us.

Here's my example:

In my precinct today, which sends 6 delegates to the next level (legislative district convention), the initial tally had 4 delegates for Obama, 1 for Clinton, and 1 Uncommitted.  
There were 11 people who had not written down a candidate preference, and this was enough to be awarded one delegate.

After the initial tally, however, voters are encouraged to speak up for their candidate and persuade the uncommitted voters (and other committed voters, for that matter) that they should support their candidate.

I spoke up for Obama.  I started my short speech by saying, "I want to speak directly to the undecided voters here today..."
I chose to speak about Senator Obama's broad appeal all across the country, his potential for a hugely positive down-ticket effect, and his ability to lead our party into the future, rather than bring back the partisanship of the '90s.
One woman spoke about Obama's opposition to the war in Iraq.  She said, "More important than just opposing the war, he wants to change the mindset that got us into the war."
Another man who spoke said that he used to be a Republican, and that Obama appealed to him as a strong leader who could unite the country.

Several very passionate Clinton supporters spoke on her behalf as well, but in the end, we ended up turning that 1 undecided delegate into an Obama delegate after the undecideds were offered another chance to declare a candidate preference.

And that's how we will win a close delegate really does go all the way back to the precinct level.  So get yourself fired up and swing some votes!

Originally posted to KFSeattle on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:57 PM PST.



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Comment Preferences

    •  Bring stuff (6+ / 0-)

      Lots to eat, lots to drink.  A deck of cards can be handy.

      Know what you're going to say when you walk in the door.


      Be unfailingly courteous and helpful.

      Quriltai on the Shore...a normal blog with a weird name.

      by ogondai on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:01:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  second the food (4+ / 0-)

        and bring some to share. other obama precinct captains at our location brought snacks and water for people to drink (a lot) and people were happy to have it, especially those who brought kids.

        expect way more people than you think are coming.

        Take a couple of card tables & have a welcome table set up.

        have sign in sheets for obama event on hand, so you can get contact info for supporters. and clip boards for the sign in sheets. and lots of PENS!

        bring a calculator!

        have a way to take donations for the campaign.

        if you can get stickers, bring a lot. people love them. if you can't get them buy those labels and make some with a color printer, or have some made.

        make some posters! no need to buy...homemade ones are great.

        have greeters at the door. ask people if they've made a decision about who they're supporting, if obama get them to sign in, if undecided ask them what issues they're interested in learning more about and then talk to them and answer their questions. (having issue papers printed from the website is helpful--our health care, iraq and environment (we're in WA state) went first. We did this with the 500 people at our caucus site, all the precinct captains working together.  

        KNOW YOUR CAUCUS RULES! this is so important. Know how the math works, know how the process works. look at and see if there is a caucus training session near you and GO! If there's not one near you, call the state headquarters and say you need them.

        Volunteer to be a precinct captain. It's so rewarding. I'm tired, but I'm so excited to have spent my time and energy on this campaign.

    •  I mostly just spoke out of love .... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bensch, peagreen

        ... out of joy
        ... and out of hope.

      I said .. " ... sometimes a leader can succeed more out of passion for his vision of peace .. like Martin Luther King ... then out of a calculation of policy and political calling in of favors."

      That it was the people who followed Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy and Gandhi that finished the unfinished buisness.

      That it is our job to cover Barack's back.  Our job to take his vision and make it real.

      I turned 9 undecided to Obama.

      I know they'll go back home .. and turn 90 of their own.

  •  This is great advice. (5+ / 0-)

    Those "undecideds" can double (or more) your impact at the caucus - instead of just one vote, you can add two or three, rather than have those delegates lost!

    For those of us (like me) who would get shaky in the knees talking to even a hundred people, like the district I caucused in today, try individuals!

    by Bensch on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:01:26 PM PST

  •  A question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    how can one of the delagates me undecided?

    Yes we can change. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can seize our future. - Barack Obama 01/26/08

    by MadAsHellMaddie on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:11:28 PM PST

    •  S/he's a moron (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's my general all-purpose explanation for undecided voters that late in the process.  Rude, but often true.

      Quriltai on the Shore...a normal blog with a weird name.

      by ogondai on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:13:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i guess the idea is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that these people feel they don't have enough information to make a decision.  Or they have enough information but really, for whatever reason, they can't make up their minds.

      These delegates will move on to the next level and again be courted by supporters from either side.  Of course by that time, there will be more information available and perhaps they will feel more comfortable making a choice.

      •  I guess I don't get how they can be a delgate!! (0+ / 0-)

        was it not a process and those that got the most votes get a certain percentage of the states delagates?

        Yes we can change. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can seize our future. - Barack Obama 01/26/08

        by MadAsHellMaddie on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:29:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  them's the rules (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and if they are enough of them based on the formula for viability then they get one. There is multiplying and dividing involved:)makes for more fun at the caucus.

          ..."For beauty," I replied. "And I for truth,-the two are one; We brethren are"... E. Dickinson

          by peagreen on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:47:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The 'Undecideds" can 'group together' and (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bensch, peagreen

          select a delegate to represent them at the next level.

          Remember that the delegates elected in caususes have other duties than just casting a vote to select delegates to the National Convention.

          They may have a 'common issue' that they want supported, a strong voice to represent them as the process of building a Party Platform at the State level begins.

          Unlike a primary, the caucus allows you to actually select a real person to go to the following Conventions. The delegates selected at the Precinct Level when I caucused were folks that their neighbors trusted.

          For instance, I'm now in a Primary state. I cast a vote for a Presidential Candidate. The State DEM Party then picks the Delegates.

          "...fighting the wildfires of my life with squirt guns."

          by deMemedeMedia on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:51:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Uncommitted (3+ / 0-)

      is always an option.  The idea is generally that people don't want to let the candidates go on and ignore their state.  In reality, it just means some delegate gets to decide on behalf of those undecided people.

      Sometimes it's used as a protest; e.g., uncommitted got 40% in Michigan, if I recall correctly.

      "... politics has been divided between two types of people: those who want more people to vote, and those who want fewer people to vote." - Sen. Kerry

      by cdsmith on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:29:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I will decide everyone's fate. (0+ / 0-)

      I am from...Pennsylvania.

  •  What about the Puerto Ricans?? (0+ / 0-)


    Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their country. We are the ones we're waiting for. Vote Obama!

    by Viceroy on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:29:11 PM PST

  •  excellent diary and advice (4+ / 0-)

    Our Seattle precinct was the same today - 6 delegates to be alloted, and it was 4/1/1 Obama/Clinton/uncommitted after the first vote.  In our case, we didn't have speeches - it was small group or one-on-one lobbying.  But we turned 4 of 6 uncommitteds to Obama and that got us 1 more delegate.    

    As ogondai mentions in a comment above, it is good to think through your "come to Obama" speech before you get there - you'll be that much more effective at persuading others, and that much more comfortable and ready to speak up.

    Great diary!  

  •  Our precinct today (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bensch, deMemedeMedia

    was initially 3-1-1 Obama-Clinton-Uncommitted. We did the speeches. I was 1 one 3 Obama supporters who spoke. It got a little testy about health care, because 1 of the uncommitteds asked about it, because Clinton claimed, yesterday,that Obama was attacking her for being for universal health care. (I was not happy to read the quote myself for struck me as another Clinton mislead and it had affected this voter.)

    Anyway, after the discussion some of the uncommitteds committed (but some did not) and it just enough to bring the delegate to Obama for a 4-1 split!

    I'm pumped that we delivered Washington. I made a bunch of calls to neighbors and friends.


  •  Check out.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bensch mom's diary upstream about her Washington Caucus.  They did leave with one undecided.  I wonder why?

    truth, kindness, endurance, Obama '08

    by CupofTea on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:50:24 PM PST

  •  Went to my first Caucus in WA as Observer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but was pumped for Obama and made sure all those in the room that were undecided they were just a maybe away from the best Yes they will ever cast.

    Be a part of history, vote Obama!

    I didn't vote as I was a Oregon resident, but a handful of undecided told me at the end that my short speech moved them... well when you learn from the best.

  •  Big turnout today! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bensch, peagreen

    We got a great turnout today in South Kitsap. At our location, we had 12 precincts caucusing, and several of the groups had to caucus in another large room instead of the one planned, because we were full to overflowing. 21 people were there from my precinct; last time, in 2004, we had 3. My friend Lois got over 30 from hers.

    I wish I had been able to provide pencils and paper to the group. The Kitsap County Dems decided not to supply pencils and paper at each location as a cost-saving move. I had a somewhat difficult time today as the PCO; I was dizzy all day and had a hard time standing up, so  I sat in the middle of everybody instead of standing and led it that way.

    My husband and I both got elected as Obama delegates to the county convention. We'll be carrying it on to the next level. I'm planning to run as a delegate to the state convention and to National as well.

    Want to be a living kidney donor? I need one from someone with a bloodtype of B or O. Drop a note at

    by Kitsap River on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:03:54 AM PST

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