State Convention Thoughts

In an effort to explain the process, I wrote about the State Convention over at The Patch but wanted to share some personal thoughts here.

As Vice-Chair of the local party, I took on the role of recording secretary at the show, keeping me a little more focused on the action and rooted to our seating section. But that was fine since it gave me a chance to chat with my 27 fellow delegates.

Despite the tedium as we sit hearing every other town record its vote, usually with some slogan talking community pride or jesting (“Greenwich, the town with the longest ride back home…”), there was plenty of energy in the air. It wasn’t as manic as last time, when four years ago Dan Malloy was jumping over chairs to beg for votes.

With our chair, Devon Pfeifer, running around looking after our people and doing work for the Ned Lamont campaign, I took on responsibility for collecting the votes and tallying them, taking the microphone and announcing our results.

As I alluded to at The Patch, there were some votes that changed over the course of a ballot so I found myself returning to the mike to announce the changes. But each time, it meant tracking down my colleagues, many of whom were out stumping for Ken Flatto, chitchatting away for our area, or elsewhere.

It was thrilling to have one of our own running for state office and Ken did well considering his late candidacy. If anything, it raised his profile at the state level which could be beneficial in the future.

And as I mentioned, I was less than pleased to see the “back room” horse trading going and the strong arm tactics and attitudes that seemingly placed our democratic ideals off to the side. Fortunately, I was not alone with my displeasure at that part of the process.

As the day progressed, some of our delegates chose to leave for other commitments so Devon and I were charged with signing in alternates to act as proxy. It meant filling out a form then taking the proxy to the registration desk, having them sign in and show a picture ID. On each ballot form, I had to add in the proxy’s name to match the records.

By the final race, Comptroller, I was tired and worn out, actually falling asleep in the passenger seat as our delegation rode home.

Initially, there were fears from our leaders that this could be a late session, running to 9 or 10 p.m. so they were thrilled that we were done by six. Of course, were I in charge, it’d have been over a lot earlier. First, we drop the singing of the National Anthem and the benediction. Second, uncontested races (Attorney General and Treasurer) should be voted by acclimation skipping nominating and acceptance speeches. Seconds would be limited to one person not multiple people. All speeches would be on a strict timer with the sound manager instructed to turn off the mike at the appropriate time.

Eventually, I’d love to find the right hardware and software so all delegations can vote simultaneously with tallies being recorded instantly on big screens. Challenges would then be checked by looking over the handwritten ballots. This way, the voting would take minutes not an hour.

As it is, the Hartford Expo is a horrible place to hold an event with a lousy sound system and lack of food options so forget about healthy eating.

Still, the party wearily left but was also charged up as we now campaign to rally votes for our favorite candidates for the August primary. Personally, every candidate I favored lost out on the party’s endorsement and we’ll see if the primary changes any of that.

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