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(7,318 posts)
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 02:11 AM Mar 2016

Spokane Co. WA has reduced the # of caucus locations to as significant an extent as Maricopa Co. AZ

Last edited Sat Mar 26, 2016, 03:25 AM - Edit history (4)

Tomorrow, some WA state voters could be facing a problem potentially as significant as Arizona's was. The most populous county in Eastern WA is Spokane County. The Spokane County Democratic Party has only 17 total caucus locations in the ENTIRE county for the March 26 caucuses Saturday morning. That's. It.

Spokane, the county's largest city, has a population of about 215,000 people and the county itself has close to 500,000 residents. That is the equivalent of 1 caucus location for every 29,000 county residents. In 2008, the last year we had a contested presidential primary, I walked 5 blocks from my home to my caucus location in a neighborhood church. There were only 3 precincts meeting at that location and we were all done, sign-in to finish, in under 1.5 hrs. This year, I must drive 16 minutes to get to my caucus which is located 6 miles away from my home!!! And every precinct in my Legislative District has been crammed into that one location.

We have been expecting a huge turnout this year due to all the extra enthusiasm Senator Sanders has generated here (2 rallys in Spokane this past week). Who knows how many low-income, working class people, who would have been at their neighborhood caucuses in years past, are now not going to be able to caucus, due to the distances they are being forced to travel this year?

On top of that, the caucuses will start right at 10 AM, no matter how many people are still in line. If you haven't made it through the line and in to your precinct caucus by the time the call for the 2nd vote comes up (which the party estimated will take place, on average, at around 10:40 AM) you will not get to cast a vote. Period. As the trainer at our March 9th Caucus Orientation Training said, "once that call for the 2nd vote is announced, 'BAM' no one else who then comes through your door will be allowed to vote". {The Clinton campaign advised its voters to be in line at 9:30 AM and the Sanders campaign said to arrive at 9:00 AM.}

There is nothing on the Spokane County Democrats' website to announce any of this-not a peep about there being only 17 caucus locations in the county, no listing of the caucus location addresses, and certainly no map showing where the few caucus locations are.

Calls to the Chair of the Spokane County Democrats were unreturned.

In addition, all of the local TV news program managers (KXLY, KHQ and KREM) were recently informed of these problems, but not a single station chose to run a news story about the looming potential for voter disenfranchisement from those policies. A news manager at one of those stations even stated that, all of the above being the case, there was nothing that news coverage about it could change-that it would be worth covering only after such a train wreck happened. My pointing out that they had a civic duty to at least inform the public of those facts did nothing to change that news manager's mind.

I did what I could to get the word out. Maybe we will be fortunate and everything will go smoothly at the caucuses tomorrow. If not, though, unlike in Arizona, there is no Republican government personnel to point the finger to should significant problems arise at the caucuses Saturday morning. There will be no one to blame but the Democratic party itself. Good luck to all of us WA State voters tomorrow and may all of our votes get counted.

ETA: I am a Sanders supporter, but my hope for all of our votes to be counted extends, of course to Clinton supporters.

36 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Spokane Co. WA has reduced the # of caucus locations to as significant an extent as Maricopa Co. AZ (Original Post) JimDandy Mar 2016 OP
Sorry, JimDandy. elleng Mar 2016 #1
I think I was more disappointed by the news manager JimDandy Mar 2016 #10
And that's... JSup Mar 2016 #26
Thanks for the heads up strategery blunder Mar 2016 #2
That was very disappointing indeed about the State Dems action re caucuses vs a primary. JimDandy Mar 2016 #5
There are so many DUers who are unaware of what the party pulled here. strategery blunder Mar 2016 #9
Your caucus does count!!!!!! CoffeeCat Mar 2016 #13
CoffeeCat, did I ever tell you, you are awesome? strategery blunder Mar 2016 #14
I hope your day goes well, strategery blunder, elleng Mar 2016 #22
Could the new locations be LARGER? That could possibly make sense, but, blm Mar 2016 #28
It's not going to end, is it? Hope everyone brings their cellphones AND their voter registration jillan Mar 2016 #3
They are seemingly endless. Sigh. Informed everyone to get in line extra early to make it in JimDandy Mar 2016 #4
Start calling early, and get everyone you can to carpool, or get over first thing via Kittycat Mar 2016 #6
Will do! Thanks for the good thoughts. n/t JimDandy Mar 2016 #11
That's bullshit! fun n serious Mar 2016 #7
thank you for all that you did dana_b Mar 2016 #8
My county is similar in size to yours CoffeeCat Mar 2016 #12
You provided great posts about the shenanigans going on in your county! JimDandy Mar 2016 #16
Bernie's WA web site recommends PRE-REGISTERING here... Waiting For Everyman Mar 2016 #15
Thanks for being positive and getting those links into this thread! JimDandy Mar 2016 #17
You're welcome. Waiting For Everyman Mar 2016 #18
Okay, Here We Go! Am in line. JimDandy Mar 2016 #19
Please do. senseandsensibility Mar 2016 #20
They started letting people into the caucus room early, at 9:30. JimDandy Mar 2016 #21
Officially starting. 10 am straight up. Must be about 500 people in the room now. JimDandy Mar 2016 #23
So when did you know this? When did you try to find out any info about voting locations? Jitter65 Mar 2016 #24
Holy Goddess, that's fucking horrifying. VulgarPoet Mar 2016 #25
I want to think the best of fellow Dems. JimDandy Mar 2016 #29
I wish I had your optimism. VulgarPoet Mar 2016 #33
UNREC brooklynite Mar 2016 #27
Washington St. is an open caucus, though Tarc Mar 2016 #30
How is the GOP "pulling shenanigans" on a Democratic Caucus process? brooklynite Mar 2016 #32
Same as they did in AZ. They control the local government, and can limit the # of places to vote Tarc Mar 2016 #34
NO...this is a CAUCUS. The DEMOCRATIC PARTY makes all arrangements and pays for them. brooklynite Mar 2016 #35
Twitter is full of #WACaucus tweets kenn3d Mar 2016 #31
Our pct totals: 24 attendees, 20 for Sanders, 4 for Clinton. JimDandy Mar 2016 #36


(129,002 posts)
1. Sorry, JimDandy.
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 02:28 AM
Mar 2016

Thanks for the info.

'Calls to the Chair of the Spokane County Democrats were unreturned.'

Good luck (to us all.)


(7,318 posts)
10. I think I was more disappointed by the news manager
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 03:33 AM
Mar 2016

who was salivating at the thought of a potential train wreck happening so they could then have a great news story. It is heart hurting that informing/protecting people from a potential disaster was such a low priority to her.

strategery blunder

(4,225 posts)
2. Thanks for the heads up
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 02:40 AM
Mar 2016

I'm in Pierce County and literally across the street from my caucus location. I looked my meeting place up two weeks ago. This will be my first caucus but I've been paying attention to the DU reports from caucuses in other states and...let's just say that Iowa came early enough for me to secure a day of vacation time for tomorrow.

I'll be sure to ask about this at my caucus tomorrow. Spokane County might be at the other end of the state, but seeing how we have caucuses because the state Democratic party SUED TO OVERTURN the ballot initiative that would have switched us to primaries, I'll be damned if I accept this kind of tampering.

If the party is going to force us to caucus against the duly passed laws of our State, they had better, at minimum, be Johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to providing adequate venue.


(7,318 posts)
5. That was very disappointing indeed about the State Dems action re caucuses vs a primary.
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 02:55 AM
Mar 2016

Was wondering if this problem was widespread in the state--am glad to hear your caucus location is still near enough to walk to!

I am firmly against the caucus process. Hopefully we can get it changed before the next cycle. Enjoy tomorrow!! I just got the shingles--so painful--but I'm am stumbling to my caucus through the pain if it kills me.

strategery blunder

(4,225 posts)
9. There are so many DUers who are unaware of what the party pulled here.
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 03:30 AM
Mar 2016

Lots of people who don't live in WA bashing us for having a caucus (only small states that don't count have caucuses!--nevermind we're the 13th most populous state) and/or bashing those of us who won't be able to make it for being lazy, and/or cheating (yeah, there's cheating going on, but it ain't coming from the registered voters who show up the day of the event).

I'm a cashier. But for the grace of God do I even have access to this thing called "vacation time," because most of us don't. I'm well aware that this is the first time they've allowed work conflicts as an allowable reason for surrogate voting, and I only found out about that when I went to look up my venue, and that was long after I'd put in for that vacation time. If I hadn't already requested that vacation time to caucus, I would have never learned I had the option to surrogate vote if I could get my hands on my work schedule by the 18th.

And they probably only added the work conflict exception because they know they overturned the will of the people voting to go to primaries.

Oh, yeah, the eight-day-notice for surrogate voting? Another thing about cashiers. A lot of us don't even know what our schedule will be. I get my schedule about a week out. If I'm lucky, next week's schedule will be posted on a Thursday, if I'm unlucky, the Saturday before (and being unlucky with that, again, would have locked me out of surrogate voting had I not had the luxury of using vacation time to plan waaaay ahead).

I've had to educate several people on this site, all of a certain...persuasion, that don't give a damn whether those who make under 400k/year get a voice in the nomination process or not. And they're all just as condescending as their candidate, all the while bloviating about how we're all slackers and the only reason why people my age (older end of millenial) would ever show up to a caucus is because we have nothing else to do and we're bored. Never mind they have fringe benefits that most of us will probably never see, especially if their candidate wins the nom (oh, and did I mention that such fringe benefits would make it easier for THEM to caucus on demand, while disenfranchising US?).

I'm going to spend all day tomorrow, a day that I burned vacation time for, at the caucus, only to come home to DU and be smugly told "LOL caucuses don't count, your candidate should just drop out."

Sorry, had to vent. I fcking want the primary reinstated too. So pissed off right now...not only at the state party for overturning the will of our state's voters, but also how low DU "community standards" have fallen.


(24,411 posts)
13. Your caucus does count!!!!!!
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 04:04 AM
Mar 2016

Do NOT allow anonymous goofballs on s website affect the sense of pride that you should feel when you caucus tomorrow!

You are amazing, taking the day off and standing up for Bernie!

Be proud!! Enjoy being surrounded by your fellow Bernie supporters tomorrow.

Stand strong and be counted!!!

Read my post below too.

Good luck!!! You've got this!!!

strategery blunder

(4,225 posts)
14. CoffeeCat, did I ever tell you, you are awesome?
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 04:29 AM
Mar 2016

It was more specifically your reporting from Iowa that gave me the heads up I needed to put in for that vacation time.

Thanks for the reminder to charge and bring my phone with me...I'll do that as soon as I can get kitteh off my lap.

Looks like a supplies run is also in order (blech...walmart is the only thing open this hour, and trying to do that immediately before I go to caucus increases the risk of oversleeping quite a bit...I am not a morning person).

I'm certainly willing to help count and watch for shenanigans. (Oh dear God, the shenanigans.) I'm a little bit nervous about the idea of becoming a delegate though. Cf. vacation time.

I might be looking to transition from cashiering to something that I can actually restart student loan payments on (current income based repayment is 0 haha), so taking more vacation time for legislative district conventions is a little up in the air. I hate the idea that the caucus format limits my further involvement because I would HAVE to make myself available on (SPECIFIC DATE), which is hard to do if I just got hired at a full time job.

So if Bernie is apportioned delegates but no one wants to run to fill the allocations (oh noes please don't let that happen), I'd also be in the position of deferring a job search (currently PT, want FT) to guarantee such availability if I feel I "have to" do it, which is a wee bit precarious.


(112,771 posts)
28. Could the new locations be LARGER? That could possibly make sense, but,
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 12:27 PM
Mar 2016

if they reduced the number AND keeping the same size venue, then that would be obtuse…or egregious, imo.


(39,451 posts)
3. It's not going to end, is it? Hope everyone brings their cellphones AND their voter registration
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 02:42 AM
Mar 2016

cards incase you have the same computer problems we've had in Az.

Good luck. We will all be watching.


(7,318 posts)
4. They are seemingly endless. Sigh. Informed everyone to get in line extra early to make it in
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 02:49 AM
Mar 2016

by 2nd vote and to take photos of the tally form and delegate names.



(10,493 posts)
6. Start calling early, and get everyone you can to carpool, or get over first thing via
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 03:06 AM
Mar 2016

Public transportation. Good luck. Demand your right to caucus. Other states converted to primary, do whatever you can with your group of voters to get everyone counted, regardless of who they support. #stillsandersinIL


fun n serious

(4,451 posts)
7. That's bullshit!
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 03:09 AM
Mar 2016

Something has to be done! I am a Hillary supporter and pretty sure WA will go to Bernie but this still has to be fixed. ASAP!


(24,411 posts)
12. My county is similar in size to yours
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 03:57 AM
Mar 2016

I live in Polk County in Iowa. Our county has about 475,000 people.

We had our caucuses Feb 1. I just counted our Polk County precinct locations. We had approx 180 precincts for a county that has a similar population to your county. Yikes.

Do you know if your caucuses are held in large venues? That will help somewhat if there is adequate space.

First off, I would contact the Sanders campaign. They might not be aware of what is happening. Email them from their website.

With that said, this sounds really disconcerting. I would plan for a long day. Charge your phone and bring a charger. Bring bottled water and granola bars/snacks. Just be prepared for a long day and probably lots of chaos. If you're prepared, I think that helps.

So, if you're walking into a massive caucus like this--my concern is potential inaccurate counts or hanky pinky. If there are ANY opportunities to volunteer or help count--please do so!!! Don't be afraid to suggest things. Find the Bernie precinct captains and offer to help. They will need it!! They may need support and back up if there are disagreements or if things go wrong.

Also--remember when Hillary's side is counting people, there should be a Sander's supporter counting along with them. And vice versa! Don't let them count on their own. Let them witness your count too.

If you've got a ton of people in an room, it's best to move them to one corner or side of the room. So when you count them, count them as they are walking to the other side of the room. Count them As they walk past you. Otherwise, it's too confusing. I realize others may be in charge, and you may not have a say. I'm throwing out tips to help, if you're in a position to help.

Also--please volunteer to be a delegate for Bernie. We voted for delegates during our process. If you can, sign up! Bernie needs good people who will show up at your next convention and be a delegate. With this much chaos, you really need to ensure that in your precinct that reliable delegates are selected for Bernie, so be one of them. Also VERY IMPORTANT--when you sign up to be a delegate, take a picture of the sheet that has your name and the other delegate names on it. Please do this!!! Some Bernie delegates have reported that they signed up to be a delegate, but there was no record of them being selected, so they weren't seated as a delegate.

I don't get why the low number of caucus locations. You will most likely have thousand at each location, for sure.

We had 300 and that was a big job to count and get it right.

Please videotape. Please align yourself with the Sanders precinct captains when you get there and offer to help. This may be their first time volunteering, so it may really be needed and appreciated!

Let us know how it goes!!!

I would inform all Sanders supporters that you know about this, so they can brace/prepare for a very long day and some chaos. It helps to have that warning!

Best of luck!!!! This is crazy!! But it's do-able!!! Maybe you'll get some help, somehow!

I will email the Sanders people early tomorrow morning as pass along the info you have shared.



(7,318 posts)
16. You provided great posts about the shenanigans going on in your county!
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 05:20 AM
Mar 2016

If I forgot to say thanks for them then, I am saying it now, CoffeeCat.

According to the List of Precincts on the Spokane County Auditor's site, Spokane county has 344 precincts and 291,172 active voters.

I've heard from several sources that the 17 venues are all at public schools or colleges. While these venues are large the funneling problem then becomes magnified. Also, some of the schools are middle schools. Those venues don't have as much parking available as say at one of the high school venues where there are a lot more parking spaces due to there being students of driving age. So, for example, one of the venues is Salk Jr High which has 27 precincts caucusing there, but has only 100 parking spaces available on site.

I know the local Sanders campaign is aware of the problem, because I voiced my concerns to their Spokane manager a couple weeks ago about much of what is in my post. In addition, we discussed mutual concerns about not having individual rooms for each precinct to caucus in (It's easier in individual rooms to judge at a glance what an approx. count is for each candidate so as to be prepared to phone in to the campaign the need to pull out all the stops to taxi more participants from a particular precinct to the caucus location.)

I am prepared (already registered to vote, am bringing my pre-registration form with me and I know my precinct # so I can skip the long line and go right to my individual pct table to sign in) but so many others not familiar with the process won't be (even tho we did a lot of educating during canvassing). That was the whole reason for approaching the media to get the word out and warn the voters that because the lines might be very long, to bring with them all the things you suggested above.

I will be volunteering for most of the roles you suggested and am running as a delegate.

One explanation offered by someone in the know was that the party couldn't afford to pay for more locations. The County Dem's office manager said that the locations were chosen by the Chairs of each Legislative District (LDs) and not by the County party. At first I thought the 17 locations were just for the city of Spokane, but this same office manager was the one who told me that, no those were the # of locations for the entire county, not just for the city (learned that today-was simply floored!)

Thanks for the best wishes and all...

Waiting For Everyman

(9,385 posts)
15. Bernie's WA web site recommends PRE-REGISTERING here...
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 05:14 AM
Mar 2016

Can be done online, then print and take it with you:


Also has a caucus location finder there.

Bernie's Washington voting info page here with those and other details:


That link gives the Washington Democratic Party phone number and the Bernie Sanders Washington State HQ phone number.

Text VOTE to 82623 to get the precinct caucus location. A link will come back that takes you to a Sanders site with a US map to get any info for any state. It goes to each state's Sanders voting page.

At least it's good that anybody who will be 18 by General Election day can register at the WA caucus and select which party they want there. The caucus process though sounds complicated and time consuming.

Good luck today, Bernie Washingtonians! We'll all be watching what happens.


(7,318 posts)
17. Thanks for being positive and getting those links into this thread!
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 05:23 AM
Mar 2016

Am so tired but in too much pain from Shingles to sleep so I got your post immediately.


(7,318 posts)
19. Okay, Here We Go! Am in line.
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 11:18 AM
Mar 2016

This caucus location has just opened early and is starting to process people in line who do not know their precinct numbers and therefore are not pre-registered.

At least about 200 people here already.

My son just called on the way to his caucus location to say that a friend IRL had just posted online a letter from the Clinton campaign which incorrectly directed him to a caucus location out in the town of Cheney! The friend lives in Spokane.

I'll keep you updated on what's going on.


(7,318 posts)
21. They started letting people into the caucus room early, at 9:30.
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 11:47 AM
Mar 2016

There are about 30 precincts here and we're already at standing room only.


(7,318 posts)
23. Officially starting. 10 am straight up. Must be about 500 people in the room now.
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 12:02 PM
Mar 2016

3/4 of them are 1st time caucus attendees!



(3,089 posts)
24. So when did you know this? When did you try to find out any info about voting locations?
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 12:07 PM
Mar 2016

Some of this stuff is on the voter to know or find out.


(2,872 posts)
25. Holy Goddess, that's fucking horrifying.
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 12:10 PM
Mar 2016

How do they expect to make that work properly? Can't tell if Democratic fuckery or trying to bait massive news stories; but either way it does not bode well for the little guy.


(7,318 posts)
29. I want to think the best of fellow Dems.
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 12:28 PM
Mar 2016

We have record attendence at our location, which bodes well for Senator Sanders!


(2,872 posts)
33. I wish I had your optimism.
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 01:03 PM
Mar 2016

Unfortunately, I'm completely out of it. If you'll pardon my French, once is a fluke, twice is coincidence; three is evidence of fuckery. And this shit just keeps happening. Regardless of the outcome in November, this is the cycle that cements me as firmly Independent, Green, Socialist, anything that aligns with my beliefs and isn't Democratic or Republican.


(93,271 posts)
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 12:19 PM
Mar 2016
That is the equivalent of 1 caucus location for every 29,000 county residents.

...except that this is a PARTY CAUCUS. Non-registered voters and non-Democrats (with the rare exception of those who want to re-register) won't be showing up. Spouting generic population numbers (and bolding them) is pointless.


(10,469 posts)
30. Washington St. is an open caucus, though
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 12:33 PM
Mar 2016

Spokane is much more conservative than Seattle, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the GOP is pulling shenanigans there as well to tamp down our vote.


(486 posts)
31. Twitter is full of #WACaucus tweets
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 12:46 PM
Mar 2016

"The nearly half-mile long line to get into my caucus, which is sharing a venue with 49 other precincts #WAcaucus "

Reporting LONG lines, over-full venues, huge crowds, turnouts doubling 2008 numbers.

Good on Washington of course... but this does begin to smell a lot like Arizona.
Pls Sign WhiteHouse Petition: http://wh.gov/i7BUo (approaching 200k signatures)


(7,318 posts)
36. Our pct totals: 24 attendees, 20 for Sanders, 4 for Clinton.
Sat Mar 26, 2016, 01:47 PM
Mar 2016

Woo hoo!! 4 delegates for Sanders and 1 for Clinton.

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