Our precinct (Iowa City 23) had 541 people, which proportionally means we have 8 representatives, or delegates. Based on how many supporters a candidate has, those eight delegate slots get split up between the candidates based on the % of supporters that person has.
So Obama ended up with ~283 (the ~ means approx., yes?)
Edwards with 159
Hillary with ~87 (!)
Everyone else was not considered viable. Viability is 15% of the total. So if you have 541 total people at the precinct, you have to have 82 people to be viable. After the first count, Obama had ~235, Edwards ~107, and Hillary ~71, which means only Obama and Edwards were viable. There was an audible gasp in the auditorium after we heard HRC's numbers.
This is where the real fun begins: those that aren't viable either have to become viable (like HRC gaining 16 people) or disband (Biden, Dodd, Richardson, Kucinich- there was NO ONE for Gravel). This is where Jennifer and I rocked: we were able to court those fleeing the non-viable candidates and get many of them over to our side. In between the two counts, we went from 107 to 159, simply by convincing others to join us. Obama also grabbed about 50 people and HRC was able to become viable by getting 16.
So they do another count and based on that distribution, the number of supporters you have goes into a formula and you end up with 8 delegates being divided as follows:
Obama- ~285 becomes 4.1
Edwards- 159 becomes 2.3
Hillary- 87 becomes 1.1
The numbers to the right are delegates.
Obviously, you're not going to have .1 of a person. However, because Edwards had .3 of a person, his % of a person is greater than Obama or Clinton's .1 of a person, so the final delegate break down in our precinct is as follows:
Now, those delegates will end up going to the next level, which is the county. Paul (our precinct captain and other delegate), Jennifer and I will go cast our votes for Edwards while the 4 people for Obama and 1 for HRC will do the same for their candidates. Essentially, I believe, we'll select delegates for the level above that (district), who will go on to the state and select delegates for the national convention.
The delegate system is not unique to Iowa. In other states, when you vote in a primary, you're selecting delegates to represent your choice at a higher level. All those people on the floor at national conventions the few months before November's election are all delegates. So there's the chance that, if we keep getting nominated and selected as delegates for Edwards, we could end up wherever the DNC is holding the convention.
But first we have to get through Johnson County.