Election 2020

If You Liked The Way Iowa Democrats Count Votes, You'll Love What Texas Has Planned for Super Tuesday

Beto O'Rourke speaks during the general session at the Texas Democratic Convention on June 22, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

There’s such a thing as overthinking things in life. Sometimes, an apple is just an apple and trying to make it into an orange just won’t work.

Overthinking something always makes it more complicated. The Democrats have thought long and hard about this democracy thing and concluded it is “broken.” and needs “fixing.” They aren’t getting the right results from elections (i.e., they are losing too much), so they figured it was a process thing that was preventing the “right” result.

Bad ideas, toxic candidates, authoritarian tendencies; but it’s the process, stupid.

To “fix” the process, Democrats decided they needed more and more of their idea of “democracy.” Now, generally speaking, more democracy is a good thing. But when you overthink ways to be more democratic, more inclusive, more “diverse,” the chances rise significantly that you’re going to bollix the whole thing up.

Just like Democrats in Iowa.

Texas Democrats, eager to show that they’ve got this democracy thing down cold, will subject the rest of us to a very long night on election night with no guarantee that the final result will be forthcoming. That’s because Texas has allocated more than half their delegates to the national convention based on the outcomes in state Senate districts.

You want chaos? You like chaos? You got chaos.

Texas Tribune:

Officials with the Texas Democratic Party said the Texas secretary of state’s office recently told them that it will not be able to provide on election night the numbers needed to allocate a majority of the 228 delegates up for grabs in the state on Super Tuesday. In a Jan. 23 meeting, the Democrats said, top state election officials cited limitations to their revamped reporting system, which is used to compile returns from the state’s 254 counties.

“They basically said that’s not built out yet,” said Glen Maxey, the special projects director for the Texas Democratic Party who attended the meeting with state officials.

Late Wednesday, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, which initially had not responded to The Texas Tribune’s questions about the issue, contested that characterization, saying that “any allegations that delegate allocations will not be reported on election night are categorically false.”

“Not built out yet”? Gee, you’ve only had a few years to get it done. But then, Texas Democrats overthought the process, forgetting that in large systems, simplicity is next to godliness.

On Wednesday morning, the Texas Democratic party was preparing for an Iowa-like scenario in which the full delegate distribution would not be available until at least the next day. Maxey said state officials “were very clear” they would not be getting the granular level information needed to calculate the delegate distribution on election night, and the party was already considering whether it could independently collect the data from all 254 counties and calculate the delegate distribution itself.

That process would be complicated because some counties — including the state’s most populous — are sliced up among several state Senate districts. Maxey said that means the party would have to wait for complete voting returns from those counties before starting its calculations, which likely would not begin until after midnight.

You want overthinking? You’ve got overthinking.

The 149 district-delegates in question will be proportionally distributed in each state Senate district among candidates who garner more than 15% of the vote. The number of delegates up for grabs in each district is based on how those districts voted for the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor. For the upcoming primary, that number ranges from two to 10 delegates in each Senate district.

Sheesh. So, make a pot of coffee, have plenty of Red Bull on hand, and prepare yourself for a Texas-sized farce in three acts on election night.