…one man, one vote…

I attended the 4th Congressional District Convention in Warsaw, Missouri last night wearing three hats – as a voting delegate, as an observer for the Hillary Clinton campaign, and as a blogger.

In the 4th Congressional District Convention the process was relatively painless.

The congressional district chairs have to contend with a paper work nightmare – making sure everyone who is a county delegate, a county alternate, and those who are running for a national delegate slot are where they are supposed to be when the convention starts. The big part of this is signing everyone in so everyone knows who is actually there.

Dinner and a schmooze before the convention.

The convention was held at the Warsaw Community Building. The Benton County Democratic Club hosted a spaghetti dinner at the event from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This gave individuals running for national delegate slots an opportunity to socialize with and solicit support from county delegates. Those in the running came up with a variety of flyers, worked the sign-in lines, and worked the dinner tables.

After being contacted by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to be an observer at the convention I was asked to participate in a conference call with Missouri State Democratic Party staff, the two national campaigns, and their designated representatives for each of the nine congressional districts before the date of the district conventions. Procedures were reviewed and the staff answered questions. Both national campaigns pointed out that no individuals were excluded by their campaigns from the list of delegates eligible to run for a national delegate spot forwarded to them by the state party.

I was instructed in the conference call to identify myself on my arrival to the 4th District chair as the designated representative of Hillary’s campaign for the delegate selection process of the convention. I did so (I know the chair, he knows me). Everyone wanted to make the process work correctly and efficiently. I understand that a representative of the state party was also at each congressional district convention. There was a state party staffer at our convention. No Obama representative was identified to me at the 4th District convention. I asked, and was told that there was no one.

Checking it twice. Going over the delegate check-in lists.

Believe it or not, elected county delegates don’t show up. The process then entails seating qualified alternates who’ve shown up so that they can replace the missing county delegates and vote for national delegates.

The doors closed to incoming voting delegates at 7:30 p.m. (that is, they could still enter and observe, but they couldn’t vote).

After the delegates were seated the empty slots were filled (for both contingents) by alternates first by county and then at-large by lottery. That is, if there was one delegate slot empty in a county, an alternate from that county was seated. If no alternate from a county was available, then the seat was filled by an alternate from another county determined by a lottery. The process worked efficiently.

The floor was opened up to nominations. Those nominated then made one minute speeches, and those eligible to vote cast their ballots. The process started with the Hillary female delegates, then the Hillary male delegates, and then followed with the same for Obama delegates, ending with the voting for the Hillary male alternate (this was to allow time to count the ballots for the male Hillary delegates so that those not elected could choose to run for the alternate slot). Only Hillary county delegates could vote for individuals running for Hillary national convention slots, and only Obama county delegates  could vote for those running for Obama national convention slots. After all that work six individuals were elected to attend the national convention in Denver.  

Three Hillary delegates and an alternate. Left to right: Delegates Peggy Cochran, Bill Richardson, Sandy Nelson, and alternate Rex Ryan.

The process continues on May 10th in Columbia at the state convention when at-large delegates and alternates to the national election will be elected by the respective campaigns’ county delegates.