Democrats turn out in Shawnee County to caucus

(Caroline Sweeney/KSNT)

TOPEKA (KSNT) – There were no ballot boxes at the Topeka West High School caucus location Saturday.

More than 1,400 people showed up Saturday afternoon to cast their vote in the Democratic caucus for the 2016 election.

But organizers were not expected the larger than normal turnout.

“Well it’s huge,” said caucus chair Jeff Zamarzla. He was standing outside the high school looking at the line of people who needed to get inside before voting could begin. Anyone in line at 3 p.m. would still be allowed in to vote. “We have 750 new voter registration forms. We’ve just about ran out twice so we’ve had another thousand delivered.”

People started lining up outside around 1 p.m. but voting didn’t start until after 4 p.m. The long wait time was an afterthought as voters saw the large number of people filling the high school gym.

Unofficially, only 9 percent of all registered Democrats in Kansas cast a vote today.

But supporters for both sides touted their candidates strengths.

“Bernie is okay,” said Jim Robinson while he waited in a chair on the wooden gym floor. “But Hillary has got political experience in the White House already. She used to be our Secretary of State. So she has more experience in that area.”

Between back and forth chants, Mikayla Price said she likes Sander’s plan for more accessible higher education.

“Bernie means what he says,” she said while the crowd chanted behind her. “He has stood by everything he said since he began in politics. He doesn’t waiver, he doesn’t flip-flop.”

Around 4 p.m., all the voters were inside and the hand counting began.

Each side is counted twice; once by supporters and once by the opposition. Everyone counting at Topeka West was a volunteer. If the numbers each side has match, then a winner is declared.

At Topeka West, Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, was declared the winner.

He raked in 930 votes, taking 9 of the 14 available delegates there. Hillary Clinton received 554 votes and took the remaining 5 delegates.

Overall, the Kansas Democratic Party reported Sanders taking 67 percent of the vote and Clinton came in with 33 percent. She will take 10 delegates with her to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The convention starts July 25 and ends July 28. Sanders will bring 23 delegates with him.

Kansas has 37 delegates available, leaving 4 super delegates to be determined later.

Democratic Numbers

Here’s the latest: (If you are having trouble viewing, click here.)

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