Texas Refuses to Double-Check Caucus Signatures

Hillary Clinton's campaign received 2,000 complaints from Texas voters about the states' caucuses. Her campaign asked Texas to double-check the signatures to make sure those who participated were entitled to do so.

Today, the Texas Democratic Party refused her request.

Hillary won the primary vote but with 41% of caucus results counted, Obama led 56 percent to 44 percent.

Obama campaign response:

"Our campaign agrees that the best way to capitalize on the incredible enthusiasm and hundreds of thousands of new voters who participated in the precinct conventions on March 4th is to count their votes promptly and accurately. We look forward to continuing to work with the Texas Democratic Party to ensure that happens."

As for transparency, forget about it. The State Party says:

There is no plan at this time for the party to provide a statewide count of those regional convention results.

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    It is incredible how the democratic party (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by athyrio on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:47:24 PM EST
    refuses to do anything to help Hillary...I am appalled as I am sure other dems are as well..

    Hillary should run as an independent (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by learningcurve on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 09:18:20 AM EST
    the Party clearly doesn't want her.

    This makes (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by americanincanada on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:51:40 PM EST
    me a little sick to my stomach.

    And to think that BO won his first election by (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:52:36 PM EST
    getting the other candidates' petitions thrown out on technical grounds.  Sickening.  

    More unsavory... (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by DudeE on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:25:18 PM EST
    ...is the Obama's campaigns statement on Clinton's efforts:

    "Considering the fact that Senator Clinton is currently trying to prevent and delay votes in Texas from being counted because she didn't like the outcome, it's pretty apparent that the Clinton campaign's views on voting are dependent on their own political interest."

    Ben Smith at Politico

    You know, she'll 'do or say anything' to make sure the vote is accurate.  What a monster.


    He is such a giant hypocrite. He is nothing more (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:27:02 PM EST
    than a coniving, gutter politician.  Nothing more.  Possibly less.  

    Seriously (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by tek on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 08:39:02 AM EST
    it's unconscionable that our own party is now participating in this kind of election corruption that brought us Dubya.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Andy08 on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:31:46 PM EST
    ask Sen. Alice Palmer....

    wait.. the caucus votes were never counted? (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by MarkL on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:52:46 PM EST
    Surely this is grounds for legal action.

    No one really knows what is going on with (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:57:17 PM EST
    the Texas caucus results.  It was screwed up beyond being ridiculous.  But the bottom line here is that they have denied Hillary's campaign the opportunity to double check the signatures on the sign-in sheets.  There were 8000 caucuses and I don't know how many voters who signed in.  I can assure you that mistakes in verification have been/are being made.  This is a travesty.

    Yah (none / 0) (#52)
    by tek on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 08:40:49 AM EST
    I actually read that in TX they aren't legally bound to report the individual caucus results?  Weird.

    We were visiting with a friend who's the mayor of a major TX city two weeks ago and when I said I'd read about corrupt tactics at the caucuses, he started laughing.  I guess it's common knowledge.  (He's a Republican supporting Hillary).


    This kind of thing will continue (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by phat on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:57:12 PM EST
    It will happen in other red-caucus-states. They've hitched their wagon to Obama.

    I've seen it firsthand.

    They do have some good reasons for that.

    That doesn't make it right.


    Name one good reason. (none / 0) (#7)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:57:44 PM EST
    To be clear (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by phat on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:07:17 PM EST
    They have good reason to hitch their wagon to Obama, is what I meant.

    The evidence is pretty good that Obama has helped add to the Democratic voter rolls in some states.

    In states where the Democratic nominee isn't likely to win in November other priorities come into play.

    This can be turned into a net positive on the local level, in some states.

    1/4 of the participants in my county caucus were new  Democratic registrations.

    That's not chicken feed.



    Here is what I understand to be going on: The (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:04:24 PM EST
    Hillary campaign asked for time to verify the signatures on the sign-in sheets for the caucuses.  Doing so would take a lot of time.  And county conventions are on March 29th; they wanted to delay the awarding of delegates from the county conventions until it was known that all the signature were valid.  The party said no to this request; basically said that it would be all taken care of and for everyone to just smile and be happy.

    From the TX Dem party (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by RalphB on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:18:49 PM EST
    Below is a statement by Texas Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie regarding the Delegate Selection Process:

    The Texas Democratic Party and local Democratic Party organizations around our state are working to turn the enormous opportunity created by the record Democratic turnout experienced on March 4th into a positive outcome for Texas Democrats this fall and in 2010.  We are proud of both our Presidential candidates who helped create that turnout.  We ask now that the campaigns work with us rather than become an impediment to this extraordinary opportunity to build our party.

    On March 4th, our Democratic precinct conventions experienced record turnout of roughly one million precinct convention attendees, a ten-fold increase from the previous high attendance mark.  As expected in any record turnout involving hundreds of thousands of people, there were reports of problems caused by long lines and crowded facilities.  These problems are not unique to Texas.  Similar problems, in proportionately similar numbers, occurred in pure caucus states like Iowa and Nevada.

    The overwhelming majority of problems reported in Texas do not affect the legitimacy of delegate allocation.  It is important to remember that the precinct conventions are just the first of three steps where delegates and alternates are selected.  "Final results" will not be determined until June 6-7 at the Texas Democratic State convention.  And at each convention step, Texas Democratic Party rules provide a credentials process to address problems and provide an avenue to register complaints and make formal challenges

    For that reason, the Texas Democratic Party will not do as suggested by one campaign and circumvent Party rules to set up an unnecessary, ad hoc "verification" process that could effectively disqualify delegates selected at their precinct conventions after the fact.  The Party has never stated any intention to set up a verification process of this nature because Party rules already provide for "verification" through our credentials process.  Candidates who wish to disqualify delegates must pursue formal challenges based on evidence filed appropriately in accordance with our party's rules.

    The Texas Democratic Party plans to conduct our district and county conventions on March 29 and our June State Convention in accordance with procedures set forth in Texas law and party rules. Both campaigns have the opportunity and responsibility to do their jobs by documenting evidence, filing challenges if warranted, and turning out their delegates in a system that rewards such an effort when final delegate results are determined at the State Convention in June.


    Ann Richards (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Dancing Bear on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:10:00 PM EST
    we need you back in Texas. Why, oh why, can't we just count votes that people make and make sure that people's votes count.

    The pattern seems to be one sided when it comes to disenfranchisement.

    If I never hear the word caucus again I will be a happy voter.

    As I understand it (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:11:50 PM EST
    the only way your caucus "vote" would count is if you had voted in the primary.

    Your primary vote was valid whether or not you participated in the caucus.

    It seems to me, therefore, that if there was a discrepancy between the two, one could expect more primary votes than caucus votes - not the other way around.

    It makes me think that the powers-that-be in the Texas Democratic Party know that a re-count or signature verification will just confirm what most of us already know: that the caucus was compromised and is just one more example of why the caucus system needs to go.

    But there were more primary votes (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by IVR Polls on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:39:05 PM EST
    2.8 million primary votes compared to around a million in the 'precinct conventions'

    Each precinct is supposed to check their own results, rather than them all being checked by the party. This is why only 40% have been submitted. The Rules says that challenges happen before the SD/County convention, so there is a mechanism in place. If I understand correctly, the date of the SD/County convention is set by statute, not the party, so the party can't move it.

    Obviously, this was all designed for much smaller turnout. My precinct caucus was 30000% times larger than 2006. I went to the SDEC meeting this past weekend, and the general sentiment is that the aspirin concession at the conventions will be very profitable.


    What the campaign is trying to do is verify (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:18:01 PM EST
    the signatures on the sign-in sheets from the 8000 plus caucuses.  It has nothing to do with the regular primary.  This is important because there are 67 (I think) delegates at stake.  It is critical that the signatures be verified because if the numbers are wrong the the number of delegates for each candidate could change.  It is all very, very complicated, but all the campaign is asking for is that the signatures be verified.  I'm not sure why they can't allow that.  Or rather, won't allow that.  It is sickening.

    The hacks running the party (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by RalphB on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:21:44 PM EST
    can barely figure out how to count up the delegates as it is.  Any more complication and I imagine their little pointy heads might explode.

    See the party statement I posted up thread.  They're afraid some delegates might be disqualified.   But that's the whole point of verification!


    And this is (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Andy08 on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:22:46 PM EST

    This is cheating and wouldn't be shocking, except that Obama is running on quite a different platform.... But...wait, in fact, this reminds me of...Chicago politics!

    Can you remind me (none / 0) (#46)
    by clapclappointpoint on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 06:55:56 AM EST
    how Obama has any meaningful role in this decision?  If you're going to attack the man, at least attack him for something he's, you know, actually done.

    It's become perfectly obvious (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:37:18 PM EST
    that our candidate selection process is not prepared or designed for the actual purpose of. . .choosing a candidate.

    This reaffirms my belief that we need a national primary.

    National primaries are a nice idea (none / 0) (#47)
    by clapclappointpoint on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 07:01:56 AM EST
    in theory, but the details are a little mucky.  The problem is that you need a massive amount of money to advertise nationally and name recognition to boot.  These obviously help the (already advantaged) establishment candidate and freeze out any of the less well-known candidates.  Also, the smaller states would get shut out of the process and the candidates would camp out on the coasts for pretty much the whole time leading up to the primary.

    Our current systems is not perfect by any stretch, but great effort has been put into it to try to allow for voter representation from diverse parts of our country and for diverse candidates to be heard.


    A national primary day may not (none / 0) (#58)
    by hairspray on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:32:27 PM EST
    be feasible, but caucuses need to go.

    I'll never take part in another caucus (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by shoephone on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:38:34 PM EST
    That's for sure.

    As for the Texas Democratic Party, maybe they think with this decision they are helping Obama, but the real result is that they are hurting the voters. And THAT should be the talking point from the Clinton campaign.

    You are so wrong. We had people at my (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Angel on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:47:37 PM EST
    precinct show up without ID or proof of voting in the general primary who raised hell when we told them they couldn't vote in the caucus.  And I live in a small precinct so just imagine what went on in the big ones.  There is proof that not all of the caucuses went smoothly.  And why are you so opposed to verifying the sign-in sheets?  No one has said there was fraud, but it is a legitimate request to ask for verification.  Only people who are afraid of the results would not want the verification to occur.  

    Not freaking out (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by waldenpond on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:04:31 PM EST
    just trying to understand the process.  So why is the count still at 41%?

    I voted in the Texas (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by zfran on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:05:11 PM EST
    caucuses. We were told we didn't need to prove we had already voted in the primary because otherwise why would we be there!!!!The only "signing in" I did was when we finally lined up to fill in our name, email, voting preference and voter ID# printed on our card, which we were also told if we didn't have our card, our voting number would later be verified. Now it seems, nothing is going to be verified. Where's the legality in this!!!!

    Right... (none / 0) (#55)
    by sander60tx on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:08:25 AM EST
    There aren't any signatures on the forms!  There isn't even any place to sign one's name on the form.  Our names, addresses, etc. were filled in on the sign-in sheet.  I don't know when they verified whether I voted or not, but it certainly wasn't when my info was placed on that form.

    This is a big mess.  There is a creditialling process that will be followed and hopefully it will work relatively well.  I don't think Clinton's request to verify the "signatures" is practical and that's probably why the TDP did not agree to it.


    What on earth is a "suicide voter"? (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:42:41 PM EST

    A "Suicide voter" is a superdelegate (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by MarkL on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:26:58 AM EST
    who is still planning to vote for Obama.

    On Suicide voting (none / 0) (#62)
    by wacowheels on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 09:26:32 PM EST
    Well, I guess I am a suicide voter - I have voted in the Republican primary in past years so I thought I might shed some light on the thought process that goes into that "crossing over" step.

    It might be true that some people will vote for someone in the opposition party because they think they will be easier to beat but I know when I have done it I have seen the writing on the wall and at least tried to influence which of my least favorite candidates I would prefer the most. Why stand idly by and let other people deliver to me my least favorite choice?

    The fact that so few Republicans voted in the Texas Republican primary is absolutely meaningless. Republican numbers may have been meaningful in earlier primaries because there were lots of people to pick from - but let's face it - it was pretty much McCain by the time it got to Texas. If I were a Republican I wouldn't have interrupted my day to vote for a done deal. I would, however, consider voting in the Democratic primary because there was a real choice there. And if I thought there was a good chance the Dems were going to take it this time I would have voted for the one I would want to come out on top. I think lots of Republicans will think that way moving forward in other primaries. Why waste your vote at the Republican primary. If the primaries are open they might want to put in their two cents on which of the two Democrats they will want to see in office.


    RAIL (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by blogtopus on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 11:44:17 PM EST

    This primary should go down in history as what happens when the democratic voters get a candidate pushed down their throats.

    and i thought the repubs in texas were bad. (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by hellothere on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:04:23 AM EST
    ok, they are, but i am not impressed with this.

    well my relatives were there also. (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by hellothere on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:05:19 AM EST
    and the caucus they were at was a joke!

    sorry, but the one my relatives attended (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by hellothere on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 01:58:10 AM EST
    wasn't so laudable.

    Your anecdotal evidence vs. 2000 others (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Cream City on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 01:54:52 PM EST
    who filed complaints.  Uh huh.

    BS the TX caucus results (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by RalphB on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:20:15 AM EST
    are skewed for the same reason as caucuses in the other states.  They are disenfranchising affairs.

    No matter who wins (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by RalphB on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 08:39:15 AM EST
    caucuses are still disenfranchising.  By the way, if my point has validity, what does it matter who I might support?  Or are you a typical Obamadroid?

    The caucus is NOT representative! (none / 0) (#59)
    by hairspray on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:43:28 PM EST
    Just look at the state of Washington as a good example.  Obama won the primary by about 2-3% of the voters.  In the caucus he won by 30%. Now that is unbelieveable.  People have written about their experiences and we know that brief hours disenfranchised many, many people.  The Obama camp is benefiting from this disproportionate caucus procedure.  If these were all true primaries, Hillary would be winning.

    what a mess this is getting to be (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by thereyougo on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 01:48:44 AM EST
    if Hillary gets the nom it won't be because democrats helped her!

    I'm beginning to think this is how obama got through the little states, with these methods. His MO is to get through it as planned, any verification delays it and he'll lose some delegates because they won't show up. It guarantees participation, and theres is not room for protest. You have to trust us Hillary,
    because we say so.

    Obama is slowly not the uniter, but the divider.

    Really? (none / 0) (#49)
    by clapclappointpoint on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 07:12:32 AM EST
    First of all, the TDP is not a wing of the Obama campaign.  They made the decision, not him.  If they had delayed the convention by a couple of weeks (per the Clinton campaign's wishes), they would have had to find a new place for 20,000 Texas Dems to hash out the rest of their party business.  Are you offering your living room?

    Second, you fault Obama for winning the caucuses.  Seriously?!  Aren't the candidates supposed to win the contests?  You know, the Supers can't coronate a winner all by themselves.


    They should have a revote (none / 0) (#54)
    by learningcurve on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 09:21:22 AM EST
    in Texas.

    This is about verifying signatures because the (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Angel on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 07:06:39 AM EST
    signature counts are the beginning basis for selecting delegates that go to the county conventions.  It is not about knowing or not knowing the rules as someone above said.  And it isn't about how many people showed up for one candidate or the other.  It is about making sure that everyone that did show up had a legal right to vote in the caucus, and to vote in that particular precinct.  Contrary to what some believe many, many of these caucuses were not properly run.  They were chaotic, and that is a generous description. In the end, this is not about one candidate or the other.  It is about having fair elections where every vote is counted and that every vote counts.  That is done through signature verification whether you like it or not.  

    This is very odd (none / 0) (#8)
    by waldenpond on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 09:59:48 PM EST
    What are the criteria for a re-count?  I thought that if you were within a certain percent you got a re-count if you paid for it.  Certainly the discrepancy between the primary and caucus results would warrant a more extensive count.  In CA we take such a long time to confirm our results because we have signatures on file that our absentee votes need to be compared to.  I just don't understand what is going on.  The counting has stopped.  Are they going to leave it at 41% or are they actually going to finish th count?

    It isn't (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Andy08 on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:27:40 PM EST
    a recount. It is verification that the rules for the caucuses were followed (i.e. check the required signatures) given the high number of complaints that
    forms were distributed, filled and signed earlier and outside the caucus environment.

    TX caucus rules (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Pacific John on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:31:29 PM EST
    require that all sign in sheets be double checked and all delegate counts checked.

    BTW, some counties are done.


    But from (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Andy08 on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:33:35 PM EST
    this post, they are not doing that, are they? I mean the "double checking" of signatures.  Correct?

    That's the entire point (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Pacific John on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:00:37 AM EST
    The TDP wants to bail from its own rules, even though a number of counties are doing the right thing anyway.

    Caucus. (none / 0) (#11)
    by phat on Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 10:09:00 PM EST
    I don't believe anybody has any rule pertaining to a recount in a caucus.

    I wouldn't even know how you'd do that.



    Between Florida and Texas (inter alia). . . (none / 0) (#43)
    by Doc Rock on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 05:57:25 AM EST
    inter alia. . . we have a real mess in the Democratic primary process

    For more info... (none / 0) (#57)
    by sander60tx on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 03:15:19 PM EST
    If it is of any help here is a link to a fact sheet about the Texas County/District Conventions:

    Texas Delegates - Vote to Eliminate the Caucus! (none / 0) (#61)
    by wacowheels on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 09:03:34 PM EST
    I've been voting in Texas for 25 years and didn't know about the caucus system - it just hasn't been important to me, I guess. Of course, 15 years ago there is no way I could have participated because I had toddlers back then and could not have devoted the time all this silly caucusing requires.

    So I spent several hours of my evening at my precinct along with ~150 other people. It was very exciting and everyone was thrilled to participate and fairly clueless about what we were all supposed to do. The crowd was split almost 50/50 Obama/Clinton and everyone was very friendly. A few people seemed to be somewhat informed and guided the whole meeting to conclusion. We signed in - and contrary to several claims on this dairy we had to show our voter cards that were stamped that we had participated in the primary - or if we forgot our cards we were sent to table where they could look up that fact.

    The room divided in two and we elected our delegates to go to the March 29 meeting. I am one of them - so I will next be devoting an entire day to the next step of this wacky process. But I am determined to see it through if for no other reason than I know a resolution has been put forth by other participants at another precinct - it is a resolution to abandon the caucus system. I have no idea where it will come up in the next step but I will do my best to find it and vote for it, if at all possible. I recommend all other delegates to do the same and end this insane, time consuming process that so many people cannot possibly consider participating in.

    Other precinct caucuses may not have been run in as orderly a fashion as ours but I think the fear of non-legal voters participating is a bit overblown. Believe me, those sign in sheets will be checked, and I have been told at the next step all delegates will be "credentialed". Delegates and alternates have been told to show up. My impression is that - if precinct signatures are not deemed legal there may possibly be a redistribution of delegates, so the alternates should be at the ready.