Caucus chaos in Grayson Co.

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. -- Nearly 24 hours after polls closed, caucus votes are still being counted in Texas. It caused some confusion here in Grayson County. Emi FitzGerald reports from the Sherman Municipal Airport.

The airport was just one of several polling places across Grayson County. For some, the Democratic Caucus process was confusing from the start, but some voters say what happened here added to the chaos.

"As bad as it was, I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up in the trash," voter Sandra Gabriel says. It’s a frustrating statement after what Gabriel calls a frustrating night. Gabriel came to the Sherman Municipal Airport, voted in the Democratic Primary, and then returned Tuesday night for the party caucus.

"We had to go through this door to outside to the patio area, I’ll call it the patio because it had picnic tables."

Gabriel says at least fifty people sat outside while judges were wrapping up the regular voting. She says someone who looked like an official asked if they knew what to do, and even asked for volunteers to help figure out the process while voters stood outside, in the cold, watching a few people inside.

"He told us we were being rude and needed to stop being rude, being disorderly, to do everything in order. At that time we were wondering if he was talking to us, because nobody had been out of order. And really, considering the circumstances, we could have been, but we weren’t. We were waiting to do our business and go home."

In other parts of Grayson County, caucuses were packed full of people, an unusual site for a presidential primary. In December party leaders decided to combine all of Grayson County's precincts into groups of three, with each group voting in one location, which made for a crowded caucus.

"The different precincts are trying to caucus with a large number of people in each instance. I'm sure it made it very awkward," National Democratic Party member and super delegate Bob Slagle said.

Gabriel says the voters at the airport finally cast their ballots writing on picnic tables or a window ledge.

"I don't know if they can even understand what names are on that paperwork. And at this point, I wouldn't even trust that the paperwork went in the right hands."

Grayson County Democratic Party chair Tony Beaverson says he mailed each precinct judge detailed instructions for the caucus weeks ago, and there was a communication breakdown between Republican and Democratic judges here, but all agree it's exciting to see so many people performing their civic duty.


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