Democrats Clinton and Obama Battle to a Draw on Super Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama split the spoils of Super Tuesday down the middle. Out of some 11 million votes cast and reported as of 10 PM Pacific Time they were only 5000 votes apart.

In projected delegate count they also split, 451 for Clinton to 438 for Obama. These are not the final counts and are only projected totals for the day. Missouri is still too close to call as is New Mexico.

A good place to go to see the final results are posted at the Seattle Times and the New York Times elections pages.

Clinton has won the states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. These are all primary states.

Obama won primaries in Alabama , Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, and Illinois. He won all of the caucus states – Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah and is leading in Alaska. This makes sense in that caucuses work well for a candidate with a dedicated, passonate and committed grassroots presence.

The problem remains that a caucus vote, while winning delegates, does not accurately reflect the actual vote total because the Democrats are only reporting delegates selected. This is misleading in determining the actual voting strength of a candidate and also does not reflect the candidates actual appeal among the broader voting population that will be voting in November. The delegate count is more accurately a reflection of grassroots organization strength than it is of voter appeal. And caucus rules vary from state to state.

We have written previously about how reporting delegates selected in a caucus and actual vote counts are different and that we believe the Democrats should report both numbers. The New York Times for example in their reporting of percentage of vote for each state on Feb 5th do not make a distinction in their reporting of caucus delegate votes and primary voter counts.

After I wrote about how the Democrats are not releasing actual voter sign in numbers for caucus attendees but only number of delegates chosen for each candidate I came across an op ed written in Dec 2007 for the New York Times entitled Iowa’s Undemocratic Caucuses.

The piece notes that “Iowa Democrats shun public disclosure of voter preferences at their caucuses — something not generally reported by the press or understood by the public.”

In a separate post I found by The Next Harrah posted on Jan 13, 2008 and entitled “New found Transparency in Iowa [..someday]” there is a link to vote totals after people made their final choice in the caucus. It was posted by the gazetteonline but sometime after the election and not widely known.

As The Next Harrah notes we urge all caucus states to release vote totals for both the initial sign-in and after caucuses make any final vote changes before delegates are selected, so the public can better understand what is happening and how the delegate number is arrived at.

The Democratic Party should select delegates by a transparent process and not keep secret preliminary votes and final votes.

The next states up for a vote are on Saturday Feb 9, 2007 when Louisiana (67 delegates), Nebraska (caucus)(31 delegates), Virgin Islands (9 delegates) and Washington State (caucus) (97 delegates)vote. Maine (34 delegates) holds a caucus on Feb 10, 2008. Obama has an advantage, based on past results, in the three upcoming caucus states.

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