DNC shifts nomination vote to the hotels; Update: Business as usual

Expect to see a roll-call vote at the Democratic convention tonight?  Be prepared for disappointment, as Hillary Clinton’s delegates will have to do.  Instead of a normal floor vote, the tallies will be taken before delegates arrive at the Pepsi Center:

Delegates to the Democratic National Convention are casting ballots for the party’s presidential nominee at their hotels this morning.

The vote, negotiated by the campaigns for presumptive nominee Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, is expected to speed proceedings from the floor of the Pepsi Center tonight, when totals will be read from the floor as part of a roll call vote.

But it is also leaving many delegates perplexed.

Some delegates were confused because Sen. Clinton was not expected to release her delegates until the afternoon.

“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Mary Sullivan, a Clinton delegate from Albany, N.Y. “I’m gonna vote for Hillary. I’m a Clinton delegate and she hasn’t released me yet.”

What happened?  Why has the DNCC suddenly decided to cast these votes away from the cameras and the television audiences?  It’s almost as if someone expects people to cause problems for the smooth and unifying election of Barack Obama as the party’s presidential nominee.

Think this shows unity?  Some of Hillary’s delegates want outside observers to ensure that the vote isn’t rigged:

Some of the Clinton supporters in the delegation raised questions about how the process would work and said they wanted an observer there to ensure that the ballots were counted accurately.

“I think it sucks,” said Blanche Darley, a Clinton delegate from El Paso.

Yeah, maybe they could have ACORN provide disinterested observers.  Or if Jimmy Carter hasn’t left, he could lend his expertise in monitoring banana-republic elections.  And after the Democrats go to all this trouble to hide the voting process, they can then explain their support for card-check legislation.

Flashback: Most unified party in 30 years?  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Update: Politico now reports that the process is a muddle, but they’re trying to conduct this in a traditional manner:

Barack Obama’s campaign has reverted to plans for a traditional roll call on the convention floor, and the Denver Post reports that delegates are voting this morning in their hotels.

There’s a bit of confusion about the plans for a roll call, and some Democrats say they’re dissatisfied by a process that has them voting in private, by state. But that’s the old-fashioned way, says my colleague Andy Glass, who’s covered these for years. The roll call is a roll call of states, not of delegates, and there was never the prospect of a one-by-one show of hands on the convention floor.

If this is business as usual, as Ben Smith now reports, is Politico retracting its earlier story?  And why were Hillary delegates so upset by the earlier change?