I don’t think I’ve ever registered as a Democrat before (no, never as a Republican either), but I’m going to this time. Sure, I don’t agree with either side’s policies on frequent occasion -less government seems like a better idea- but on the other had, I suppose I’m more “liberal” than not on many issues. And I don’t want to be cliché or corny but local boy Obama represents a mood, a spirit, a shifting of awareness, a higher level of being…(and the candidate who is more likely to play in the surf with me…. j.k.). Watching Hillary back at the Iowa debate reminded me why I don’t like or trust her – as much as I may want to see women take leadership roles and give the world a feminine touch. Her version is the same game-playing old school tactics that keep politics so smarmy – and personally, I don’t quite understand the rhetoric that she has more experience than Barack. I’ve been appreciating Obama’s efforts in Congress for a few years now, and I like how he is creating a more transparent government and through such does make the public feel as if they can be witnesses and participants in the process. I like the way he runs his campaign; he’s inspiring.
So Hawai’i is now heading into the caucus and fact is most of us have little to no comprehension of the what, how, where’s, etc. There are differences in our caucus over those on the mainland (I still don’t understand why). Even the meeting yesterday in Hilo with Congressman Neil Abercrombie, who is making the rounds, pumping up the Obama supporters -worthwhile in organizing and forming organizational groups- actually left me more confused about the voting specifics. Today though, I was forwarded a link to a piece written by Honolulu lawyer Andrew Winer which spelled it out pretty simply (too bad he wasn’t at the meeting). (Coincidentally, many -including Abercrombie- were complaining about Akaka not supporting Obama. Ironically it seems Andy was Akaka’s campaign manager in 2006, and is currently the Hawai’i State Director for the Obama campaign.) Anyway, hopefully Andy’s not upset I pilfered his explanation from his Obama blog – couldn’t figure out how to contact him direct and…it’s for the cause!
Top 10 Hawai’i Caucus Facts
by Andy Winer
This morning, one of the local newspapers quoted me that the Hawaii caucus process “was something that only a lawyer could love.” Well, since I am a lawyer when I am not campaigning for Barack, let me take a shot at simplifying and demystifying the process by answering the following ten questions:
1. What is a presidential caucus? The presidential caucus is a simple voting process. Instead of casting your vote in a voting booth, however, you vote at a caucus meeting conducted by the Hawaii Democratic Party.
2. When is the Hawaii Democratic Party conducting its caucus meetings? February 19, 2008. On that day, you should plan on showing up at 6:30 p.m., and the actual meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m.
3. Do I need to be a registered voter to participate in a caucus meeting? No, but you must be eligible to vote, and if you are now 17 years old, you must be 18 years old by November 4, 2008.
4. Do I need to be a registered member of the Hawaii Democratic Party to participate? YES! You must fill out a Hawaii Democratic Party membership card before you will be allowed to participate in the caucus meeting, but you can register at your caucus location on February 19, 2008.
5. Where do I go if I want to participate in a caucus meeting?
The meetings will take place someplace close to your home. We’ll update this site with locations or you can check the Hawaii Democratic Party web site or call 596-2980.
6. What happens when I show up at my meeting? A precinct official will confirm your membership in the Democratic Party of Hawaii or allow you to register on the spot. You do not need any identification to participate. After you are registered, you will be directed to a precinct meeting which corresponds to your home address. There is no fee to participate in a caucus meeting.
7. What happens after I go to my precinct meeting? The precinct will conduct a regular business meeting which will include electing precinct officers and representatives to the state party convention. There will then be an opportunity for discussion regarding the presidential candidates, and then the presidential voting takes place.
8. Is my presidential vote secret? Yes.
9. May I vote absentee? No.
10. What happens after I cast my vote? The votes at the caucus location are tallied and phoned in to the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
Hawaii’s 2008 caucuses will matter! The caucus process determines which presidential candidate will receive Hawaii’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention. In turn, the Democratic National Convention nominates the party’s candidate.
The caucuses on February 19, 2008, are the only opportunity for Hawaii residents to have a say in selecting Barack Obama as the Democratic Party’s candidate. If you have any other questions about the process, please call the Hawaii Democratic Party at 596-2980.
If either side, Clinton or Obama, had clinched Super Tuesday, Hawai’i votes would have been more about going through the motions. Often by the time we get to our polling place there’s a more clear front-runner. And since the voters know this the numbers participating is typically low – less than 5,000! But as it stands, with both candidates neck and neck, the excitement has spurred many Democrats to make certain their voice is heard (12,000 ballots have been ordered this time, and they’re worried that won’t be enough). If you think this isn’t a big deal – think again! Even though Hawai’i has just 29 delegates, it’s still included as one of the deciding factors in determining who will be the Democratic candidate! (Check the NY Times Election Guide for delegate update, or compare it to CNN’s, RealClearPolitics, and The Wall Street Journal’s tallies — which include Superdelegates…dang, this voting system is friggin’ wack – and if Hillary wins because of “Superdelegates” I will riot too. Read about variations in delegate counts here. And what the fug is a Superdelegate here.)
If you plan to vote Democrat this election, right now is when you should decide if you want that person to be Clinton or Obama! And you’ll need to show up on the 19th if you want to stand behind your decision.
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To find out the polling place for your district or precinct click here!
• Or you can enter your address and zip code at the polling place query form. • Or find Big Island polling places here: Hawaii For Obama. • If you want to volunteer, learn more about Barack, or even simply register to vote, you can do it here. • And if you wanna make a donation to the campaign – go to coconutgirl’s fundraising site! • To join a local Barack group: East Hawaii or West Hawaii. • And, if you want to petition against this whole concept of superdelegates, sign it here. Or call the DNC Credentials Committee (which is made up of 3 persons, all former Clinton admin wonks) 202/863-8000, 877/336-7200 — time to tell them superdelegate influence is unacceptable! • More info on the process & fixing it, check out the awesome site FairVote.com!