My preconception of the caucus process was that it was a more democratic way of specifying your presidential preference. What I found after caucusing for the first time was that the caucus is a wholly disorganized process where few people know what’s going on. In effect, I strongly believe that Colorado should go with a presidential primary rather than a presidential caucus.
I did not change my address on my voter’s registration, and had to return home to Broomfield County to caucus. Similarly to Golden, we also had our caucus at our local high school, Broomfield High School. My parents and I showed up at 6:15 PM to check in and get ready for the caucus. Afterwards, we were funneled into the cafeteria to hear representatives from each of the campaigns speak about their candidate. As far as I knew, the presentations didn’t sway people one way or another. The speeches given by each proxy essentially was a “Cliff’s Notes” version of their candidate’s stump speech. For me, these speeches made no impact on who I was planning to caucus for. In addition to this, we also had a few other State and Congressional candidates to caucus for.
At around 7:20, we were dismissed to our caucus rooms and the real fun began. We first had to select a caucus chair. No one in the room had chaired a caucus before, so the procedure was confusing to everyone, including the chosen caucus chair. The process was further complicated, due to the caucus secretary not catching the voting total, forcing us to revote. This only served to frustrate people who showed up to caucus. When it came time to select the delegates, there was confusion there too about whether or not we only elected one delegate for all the events or one delegate for each race. In the end, we approved one delegate per race, although I’m unsure how this turned out as I left before they figured this out because I wasn’t interested in being a delegate (at least not this time around).
While my caucus experience was filled with minor irritation and frustration, I’m still happy I went. I caucused for Bernie Sanders and my precinct ended up going to him (the city of Broomfield did as well by a large margin). However, due to the disorganization of the entire caucus process and the depressed turnout (because it’s at least a two hour investment), I think Colorado would be better suited for a presidential primary.
A primary, in contrast to a caucus, is a simple balloted vote. On the day of the primary, the polls would be open all day to allow for the maximum number of people to cast their votes. One downside to the primary system is the lack of a community meeting where you can sway people at the last minute. However, I believe increasing turnout would be more beneficial. In addition to this, I believe that Colorado should strongly consider adopting a semi-open primary to allow Independent voters to participate in whichever primary they would like to. A semi-open primary would increase the eligible voters to help select the presidential nominee for either party and by making it easier to make your voice heard in the primary, the nominee can legitimately be chosen by the people.