Clinton aides alleged that Obama allies locked Clinton supporters out of caucus locations and illegally signed up participants before the so-called precinct conventions opened the doors to voters....More: "The complaints from the Clinton campaign include Obama supporters intimidating voters, giving caucus goers wrong information, and changing people's votes at those caucuses.."
The Obama campaign made similar complaints against Clinton supporters throughout the day, illustrating the increasing bitterness between the two Democratic rivals....
My son, Christopher Althouse Cohen, emails about his own experience caucusing in Austin, Texas:
An unusual thing happened to me on the way to my polling location. I was walking to the school, and there was a group of Obama supporters holding up signs on the front of the school yard. I walked from the side of the yard to the front entrance, but I was wearing a large Hillary button, and one of the Obama supporters ran across the school yard so he could catch me well before I got to the door. He asked if I was here to vote and I, not stopping to talk to him, continued walking but said I already voted and I was going to caucus. It was 6:40 or so and both campaigns advised their supporters in all their mailings to show up early (at 6:30 or 6:45) to avoid potentially being shut out when the doors closed at 7:15. The Obama supporter said, "Oh, well the caucus is at 7:15," implying that I should leave and come back then. If I had done that and tried to show up at 7:15, I would likely have been shut out, because the doors closed then.
I just talked to a Hillary supporter online who said that he was standing in line at 7:15 and that the line was long enough so that he was standing outside, even though they had showed up early. The Obama precinct captain on the inside was demanding that everyone still standing outside, including him, be shut out, and everyone outside started arguing with the Obama supporters on the inside. Eventually, they were let in. He told me that a friend of his was in tears over the phone, because at her location Obama supporters were literally pushing Clinton supporters away from the sign-in sheets that were later used for the official vote tallies.
This news story says that there was a complaint of Obama precinct captains filling in "Obama" after every signature that left the presidential preference spot blank.
The sign-in sheets were confusing. I was unofficially in charge of the sign-in list, though there was an Obama precinct captain standing over me, talking to every single voter at the time, and I can say that a large portion of the people signing in found it hard to read and weren't sure if this was when they actually declared their support for a candidate, so I can see why some people might leave it blank. I'll attach a copy of what the sign-in sheet looked like.
Click image to enlarge.
The box to write your candidate's name is after the phone number spot.
The precinct captain at my location encouraged all the Obama supporters to stay after the sign-in process, but tried to convince me (she perceived me to be the leader of the Clinton supporters) that it wasn't necessary for people to stay after the caucus, that it wouldn't make any difference. After persistently asking many times what was going to happen after the sign-in and what the advantage was to staying, she eventually admitted to me that delegates were being elected that night, in that room, and that we needed 84 delegates and alternates total to represent proportionately the support for each candidate at that convention. I have no idea what would have happened if all the Clinton supporters had left and the Obama supporters got to take over that process. Fortunately, I urged all the Clinton supporters to stay, and we called up Clinton supporters who had already left until we had enough delegates and alternates. This went on until late at night. By then, the Obama supporters had elected each other into all the official positions in that caucus. They outnumbered us in that precinct, so it was no problem for them to do this.This is the basis for an argument that can be aimed at the superdelegates.
What I've experienced and heard about directly is a very small part of the hundreds of complaints that have come in to the Clinton campaign. What I saw directly might not have technically violated any of the rules, but certainly was enough to potentially trick Clinton supporters into showing up late, and was enough to discourage Clinton supporters from staying to become delegates and alternates.
I left feeling like I could easily see why someone would not want to participate in the caucus. Just knowing how chaotic it can be really discourages people from voting. The difference between the primary and caucus results in Texas can be seen as an experiment that demonstrates the difference in results between those two systems, and much of that difference could be attributable to the shenanigans of Obama's base of fanatics. Right now, with less than 50% of the vote counted in the Texas caucus and 100% reporting in the primary, he's ahead 12 points in the caucus, and she's ahead four points in the primary. That's a 16 point difference in his favor in the same state, on the same day. Of the races he's won, 11 have been caucuses (12 if you count Texas), and she's only won one caucus (Nevada). What would happen to the math if you gave her 16 more points in all the caucuses?
UPDATE: I decided to calculate the numbers of delegates won in caucuses separately from the number of delegates won in primaries. Using the numbers here, I found that Obama has won 290 delegates in caucuses, and Clinton has won 154. That's 65% for Obama and 35% for Clinton. In the primaries, by stark contrast, Obama has won 1072 delegates, and Clinton has won 1058. (Actually, 1058.5 — she won 1.5 delegates in the Americans Abroad primary.) That's 50% to 50%. You need to go to decimals to show the Obama percentage lead in the primaries: 50.3% to 49.7%.
I don't know what you want to do with these numbers in combination with the stories of irregularities in the caucus process, but it's certainly interesting! And since the candidates are going to spend much of the spring and summer making their case to the superdelegates, I think this is ripe raw material. On the primaries, they are virtually even. The big Obama lead was accomplished through the caucus process. Of course, you can't exclude the people of the states that chose their delegates by caucus, but the more evidence Hillary Clinton can amass to show that the people of those states were not properly counted, the more she can explain away his lead in the pledged delegates and justify independent decisionmaking by the superdelegates.