Inclement weather did not discourage high numbers of Mainers from participating in Sunday's Democratic caucuses. With a record high turnout of approximately 45,000 voters statewide?more than doubling the previous record of about 27,000 set in 2004?sites around Maine struggled to accommodate eager caucus-goers.

Brunswick was no exception. With 1,326 participants, representing a more than three-fold increase in voter turnout since 2004, the event was delayed for almost two hours. Originally scheduled for 3 p.m., the actual caucus began between 4:30 and 5 p.m., when caucus organizers told voters that Brunswick had received a special dispensation from the Maine Democratic Party, allowing participants to write down a candidate preference on their precinct form. Many voters took this option, leaving before the actual caucusing began.

With lines snaking through the hallways of Brunswick Junior High School, some residents waited almost two hours to register for the caucus. Election officials attributed the delay to unanticipated turnout and outdated registration records. According to Town Clerk Fran Smith, the list of registered voters used on the day of the caucus was provided by the Maine Democratic Party, not the local party apparatus. The local party did not realize that the list being used was not current.

"The unexpectedly high turnout was a very large factor, but some of the delay could have been due to the fact the list the Democrats used was very out of date," Smith wrote in an e-mail to the Orient.

"My understanding is it was provided from the state Democratic party, it was not the list we recently provided to the local party. In the local party's defense, they were not aware the list was out of date until they began using it," she added.

Although rumors circulated that only one person was legally able to register new voters, this was misinformation, according to Smith.

"State law requires the registrar of voters to be at the caucus for half an hour prior to its beginning," Smith said. "In past years, one person was there for that time. We had a total of three people from my office."

The long delay prompted campaign organizers to place volunteers at the doors of the gymnasium in an attempt to dissuade impatient residents from leaving before the caucus began.

Obama volunteer Neil Chaudhary '09 was one of those stationed at the doors, trying to convince people to stay.

"I have donated to his campaign. I voted in Connecticut, but I wanted to do something here. My task is to keep people from leaving. Your vote matters," he said.

According to Chaudhary, this message would resonate with Obama supporters.

"The Obama supporters will take the message that their vote matters. He can't do this by himself," he added.

Once the votes had been tallied, Obama came away with a clear victory: he earned 15 delegates with 59 percent of the vote, while Clinton earned nine delegates with 40 percent of votes.

Despite the delay in starting the event, many caucus-goers were determined to make sure that their voices were heard.

For Mike Petkov '11, a newly naturalized citizen, the two hour wait to register did not deter him from casting his first vote as an American citizen.

"I expected it to be a little more organized," he said. "For me personally I just turned 18 and became a U.S. citizen. I just really want to exercise my right to vote. I understand why people want to leave but you should try [and stay]."

While the delay inconvenienced many, no one was turned away from the caucus. All unregistered voters who wished to participate were given the opportunity to register before the caucus began.

Sunday's caucus came after a weekend of high-profile campaign efforts. On Friday evening, Chelsea Clinton, daughter of presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, fielded questions at Bowdoin about her mother's policy positions. On Saturday, Obama spoke to supporters in Bangor, while Clinton rallied voters in nearby Orono.