Madison County Democrats selected former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont as their choice for the Democratic presidential nomination in the county’s first caucus-style straw poll.
Local Democrats convened in seven locations on Feb. 1 across Madison County — Granite City Township, the Neighbor Social Club in Granite City, Collinsville American Legion, Edwardsville Knights of Columbus Hall, Machinists Local 550 in East Alton, IBEW Local 649 in Alton, and the Marine Township Senior Center — for the party’s first-ever caucus, which was set to coincide with the Iowa caucuses.
“Tonight, Democrats across Madison County came out in force to choose the next president of the United States, and after much deliberation and debate, Hillary Clinton was chosen,” said Katie Stuart, a candidate for state representative in the 112th District said. “After a lively debate among friendly Democrats, Clinton received 47.6 percent and Sanders received 46.2 percent.”
Although delegates will not be selected until the March 15 primary election, the straw poll results will be used on official Madison County Democratic Party materials and social media.
“The caucus format is a wonderful example of direct democracy, where neighbors come together discuss their preferences, try to convince the undecided and ultimately agree on a result,” Circuit Clerk Mark Von Nida said. “It is our hope that, even though only one candidate won the straw poll, the Democratic Party will be more unified by giving everyone a voice.”
Approximately 600 citizens attended the event, which closely followed the Iowa caucus rules. Local party officials were on hand at each location to welcome the crowd, register voters, and facilitate the caucus. Although only voting-age attendees were counted, parents were encouraged to bring their children to observe and learn more about the political process.
“Today’s Madison County Democratic Party is a modern party. We are open, inclusive, and working to be more responsive to the issues of the day,” Madison County Board member Kelly Tracy said. “It was encouraging to see so many citizens come out to meet like-minded candidates and discuss the important issues facing our country.”
Party leaders believe the event gives them an edge going into the March primary.
“The straw poll is only the beginning,” said Allan Knapp, Madison County Democratic Party chairman. “Democrats are energized, Democrats are excited, and Democrats have momentum going into the primary and beyond.”
How to register/vote in the March 15 Primary
Getting Registered: The last day to register to vote before the March primary is Feb. 16. When people register to vote, they need two forms of identification. One must be a picture ID, and one must have the person’s current name and address. People may register to vote at the county clerk’s office, or at any city or village hall, township office, library or through the clerk’s website. Also, residents who are 17 years old on the date of the primary election but otherwise qualified to vote, but will be 18 years old on the date of the general election, are allowed to vote in the primary.
Early Voting: Early voting at the Madison County Clerk’s Office, 157 N. Main St. in Edwardsville, begins on Feb. 4. Remote early-voting sites in Madison County are scheduled to open on Feb. 29.
Voting By Mail: The last day to apply to vote by mail is March 10 for civilians and March 8 for military personnel.
Grace Period Voting: Grace period voting is scheduled from Feb. 17 through March 15. People may come to the clerk’s office and register to vote, but must vote at that time, under grace period voting.
For more information about registering to vote in Madison County, go to madisonvotes.com.