Precinct Conventions Frustrate Lubbock Voters - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/5/08

Precinct Conventions Frustrate Lubbock Voters

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It was supposed to be another opportunity for you to support your presidential candidate. However, some Lubbock voters say they are upset after Tuesday's Democratic Precinct Conventions.

This caucus-like system has been in Texas for 20 years, but it has never had much attention until the highly publicized face-off between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Tuesday night.  The precinct conventions were to start soon after the polls closed at seven p.m. However, we have learned at many precincts that did not happen.

For many voters Tuesday's Primary Election was a night of long lines. "I went in a little before 6 p.m.  and I waited in line for a little over an hour," Voter Tami Meador said.

Then came the confusion. Across Lubbock County, 91 precinct conventions should have started shortly after the polls closed. However, at Bennett Elementary in Wolfforth no one seemed to know where to begin.

George Young said, "They couldn't even tell us where to go for the Republican Precinct Convention or for the Democratic Caucus. They didn't know where any of it was going to be."

Over at Lubbock-Cooper North Elementary two precinct conventions had to wait until after 7:45 p.m. to get started.

Precinct Captain Kasey Burnes said, "Any minute now the precinct chair should be down with the list. What we are waiting on is a list of all the voters who voted in this precinct. We have to verify that before the caucus."

When all goes smoothly, a precinct chair picks up a packet and starts the convention after the last ballot is cast at that precinct. However, two-thirds of Lubbock County Precincts hade no chairs, or in some cases, they did not even show up. A problem, which voters at Mae Simmons Community Center faced.

"We have been waiting since 7:15 p.m. which is the designated time for us to be caucused and no one has shown up. We received word that our chairman was supposed be here and is not coming," said voter Robert Robinson.

So, a local doctor was elected temporary chairperson and the convention started almost an hour late. "It's frustrating and a bit suspicious as well," Robinson said.

We did speak to some voters who say their precinct convention went smoothly and in a timely manner.

Tuesday night, we also heard frustration expressed toward the Lubbock County Office of Elections about the conventions. However, they do not run the conventions. The Republican and Democratic Party's executive committees oversee them.

Late Tuesday afternoon NewsChannel 11 spoke with Lubbock County Democratic Chairperson Susan Barrick on the phone. She says more volunteers would have fixed Tuesday night's problems.

Lubbock County Precinct Map
Unsure what precinct you're in? Check out this map of Lubbock County Voting Precincts. (You will need Adobe Acrobat to open this file)

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