Texas Dems considering changes in primary/caucus system
ARLINGTON — Local Democratic voters called for reforming or abolishing the so-called Texas Two-Step at a hearing Friday, with several describing the well-attended precinct caucuses after the March primary as “chaotic” “discriminatory” and “corrupt.”
About 30 people attended a hearing at the University of Texas at Arlington to testify before a committee formed by the Texas Democratic Party to consider changes in the primary/caucus system.
More than 1 million people participated in the Democratic precinct caucuses that were held statewide immediately after the primary to vote a second time for a presidential nominee. Many caucuses were marked by disorganization and confusion. Some saw voters leave before their caucus support was properly recorded.
“It was a great turnout, but we were not ready,” said state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, a committee co-chairman.
Peggy Murphee of Arlington said she suspected something was wrong at her caucus at Atherton Elementary School when her presidential preference, but not her name, was recorded on notebook paper. She was upset when she later learned that her vote didn’t count and that a proper vote was taken later in the night with the people still there, she said.
“There were probably at least 40 of us that left,” Murphee said. “It was so totally messed up.”
Several participants complained that the caucus sites were not accessible to the handicapped and that those who worked nights were disenfranchised from the process. Several said they did not have faith in a system that ultimately gave Barack Obama more delegates from Texas even though Hillary Clinton received more votes in the primary.
“The only reason to have people come back a second time is to change the result of the primary vote,” Linda Brooks of Arlington said.
|From Change the Caucus|
Some at the hearing spoke positively about their caucus experience and the way it got them more involved in the Democratic Party.
“The fact that we’ve got more people wanting to participate is the worst reason to shut down the system entirely,” Richard Gladden of Denton said.
By AMAN BATHEJA
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
October 17, 2008