Taking on the Texas Two-Step

July 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Media Coverage, News & Commentary

AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) – Some Democrats are fighting their own party in Texas in order to change the process in which they vote during the primary.

The state’s primary caucus — comprised of both a primary and a caucus on the same day — is both unique and meant to get local members of the Democratic Party to participate more fully in the nomination process. Protestors to the process, however, call it unfair to those who can’t spend an entire day voting in a primary. A committee, made up of key Democratic lawmakers, held their first meeting today to analyze the two-step process.

Protestors gathered outside the meeting, calling the democratic voting process unjust.

“We want the primary voters to have the full value of their vote and not have it cut in two,” said voter Wendle Scott.

Scott is an Obama supporter. He voted in both on primary day and in the evening caucus in his hometown of Gonzales. Even though that benefited Scott’s preferred nominee, it robbed voters like Amy Esdorn. Esdorn voted in the primary, but because she had a college class that night, was unable to participate in the caucus.

“I feel like I was disenfranchised in a way because the voters who vote in the caucus, their vote is weighted differently than those who vote in the primary,” said Esdorn.

Party Chairman Boyd Richie told the primary committee that undoubtedly the system has flaws; namely, its inability to handle record turnouts, like the one Texas had this year. But he said the two-step process is integral in keeping grassroots groups alive.

“We can’t just have everybody sit at home on their couch and push a button and presto, everything is taken care of,” said Richie. “There has to be some effort put out in order to participate in the process.”

Participation is what the party wants to get now, as Obama and Clinton supporters band together in an effort to leave Texas’s two-stepping to the dance floor.

“We’re trying to force them, we’re going to have to force them to do it because obviously they’re not going to do it voluntarily,” said Scott.

Some of the recommendations Richie suggested include having more staff on hand to organize the caucus, switching from a paper method to an electronic method and moving the caucus to the Saturday after Tuesday’s primary.

The committee will make its own recommendations after holding public hearings throughout the state. The Texas Democratic party will then make a decision then go to the national Democratic party for consideration. Any changes would not be enacted until 2012.

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