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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Ada County

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March 7, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Romney emerges victorious in huge turnout at Ada County caucus: Part One

Over 9,000 voters crowded inside the Taco Bell Arena for Ada County's first caucus on Super Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Black polling booths surrounded the stage and voters lined up to drop their penny tokens. (Photo by Ilona Idlis/UW Election Eye)

BOISE — Over 9,000 voters crowded inside the Taco Bell Arena on Super Tuesday for Ada County’s first ever caucus, where Mitt Romney secured all of Idaho’s 32 delegates. Ada County Chairman Dwight Johnson called it the “largest caucus in the history of the Republican Party.” The sharp 7 p.m. walk-in deadline was extended to¬†accommodate¬†the barrage of latecomers, and by the time attendance was established, half an hour had passed.

After a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem, instructions, and stump speeches for each of the four candidates (Rick Santorum submitted a video message), the voting part of the event finally got under way. Caucus goers lined up according to the stamps on their wristbands at various polling booths around the stadium. I use the term “booth” loosely, since voting space was just a few gauze black curtains. Inside was a table with four buckets. Each bucket had a candidate’s name taped to it.

As voters entered, volunteers handed them a token — a shiny, new Lincoln penny — to place inside the bucket of their choice. On their way out, another volunteer marked their hands with a blue marker to signify they had voted in the first round.

It took about an hour to filter through everyone sitting in two tiers of bleachers. A few county officials counted all 9,050 pennies — by hand.

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Comments | Topics: Ada County, caucus, Caucuses