March 06, 2008
LULAC may sue TDP
I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky that there haven't been any lawsuits filed yet over this election. Miya reports on one that may come:
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) told me today that it's considering filing a lawsuit against the Texas Democratic Party. LULAC's national general counsel Louis Vera told me that he believes the caucus process disenfranchises the state's Latino voters. Although the caucus numbers between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are not final yet, LULAC has been contemplating the lawsuit for a few weeks.
"We had reports all night long and this morning of many, many people who couldn't stay there anymore," says Vera. "It was 9:30, 10 o'clock and they haven't even begun to vote."
Vera is also concerned that because the Primary allocates delegates based on turnout of the previous election, a vote for delegates in San Antonio or south Texas is actually worth less than a vote out of Houston or Dallas. LULAC isn't officially allowed to endorse anyone, but Vera and a number of high ranking officials within the organization support Clinton.
Vera says a decision will be made about the lawsuit when all the caucus numbers roll in, which could take a few weeks. "What we are considering is whether or not there are violations of the Voting Rights Act, " he says. "I'm not sure if all the changes in the caucus system has been pre-cleared by the Justice Department."
I'm not sure why the first concern specifically discriminates against anyone, except perhaps people who work the night shift. As for the second concern, these aren't new rules. We've done this multiple times before. The rationale is that it's designed to reward and encourage Democratic turnout. I've no idea what the legalities are, I'm just saying none of this was a mystery beforehand. We'll see what happens.
UPDATE: I like Philip's response.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 06, 2008 to Election 2008
I'm not sure why the first concern specifically discriminates against anyone, except perhaps people who work the night shift.
I actually think women's rights groups would have a stronger claim here, because women are more likely to need child care. In the interest of full disclosure, my wife and I took our kids to the caucus. But, ours was run well and ended before 9:00, so it was no problem. Had it run late, I'm not sure what we would have done.
Were you actually at a caucus? They were like zoos. We were sitting on the cafeteria floor for an hour - nobody knew what was going on. Yes, we got to vote - but I don't think this process is very voter-friendly. My wife would not even talk to me after the caucus because she was so angry and frustrated with the system.
The claim that "well, we knew about this in 1992 and 1996, and nobody complained back then" does not sway me. Problems in a system may not be revealed under ordinary circumstances, but they are revealed under stress. Just look at the joke that the 2000 elections in Florida turned out to be. Just because nobody claimed about the nominating process in 1992 or 1996 does not negate the fact that it is a deeply flawed process. I am not suggesting we change the rules - but I am suggesting that any claim that superdelegates be bound by the results of such a system strike me as laughable, especially if the evidence tends to point toward Clinton victories in normal primary voting (which is what the General Election will be, after all).
These caucuses are also a joke - they do not reflect the will of the voters. And you are going to have a whole lot of people staying home in November if Obama wins on the basis of caucus support and the absence of primary support.
I hope that LULAC sues - I am sure many tens of thousands of people were not able to show up, or were not able to endure the hours of waiting and pandemonium in their local caucuses.
The biggest problem with the caucus system is that people appear to wake up in a new world every four years. Adults who should know better maintain that they never heard of the precinct conventions before. Give me a break. I heard that BS in 1972, in 1976, in 1980, in 1984, in 1988, in 1992, etc. You can, however, say that anyone who could not anticipate a large turnout at the precinct conventions was brain dead. The fact that the election judges and the party officials failed to take the necessary steps to plan for a large turnout is unbelievable. Training and education are necessary for precinct conventions, but it is not that hard if you are at all conscientious about your responsibilities. Besides, an informed voter should also learn about precinct conventions. In addition, the news media should not assist these people in being so passive by providing them with assertions that the rules are too complicated to learn and understand. The conventions are an opportunity to participate at a higher level than voting, but too many people don't want to be bothered to learn.