Green River Star -

Our View: Why can't we just take a vote?


On the surface, caucuses appear to be a perfectly democratic process, but we think there are problems.

For the Republicans, people living within each precinct get together and elect representatives to the county convention based on who they support, who then go on to a county convention and again vote for a delegate that best represents that group’s vote on who should be the party’s Presidential nominee. For Democrats, the process starts at the county level, but follows a similar path.

The inherent problem with caucuses is they seem to mainly attract the die-hard members of the parties, the people who mostly want to support the party at the local level and attract fewer people in general. According to a 2009 study from Harvard’s Kentucky School, the average 2008 caucus attracted less than a fourth of those participating in a primary election.

We believe both parties in Wyoming should adopt a primary election model for choosing which candidates they should support.

According to the Wyoming Democrats’ website, a caucus allows for “people to group together with other supporters of their candidates and speak on behalf of their candidates in the hope of both winning over undecided caucus goers as well as supporters of other candidates.” While not every person involved has to stand and speak about why they feel their favored candidate is the best, it does lend a more persuasive air to the proceedings. That persuasive feeling isn’t present when standing at a voting booth.

Caucuses also take up a lot more time than casting a ballot too, which we think is one drawback that could keep people from attending.

Caucuses involve voting for the party’s platform, which we think a majority of voters are somewhat apathetic to. The two parties have existed for such a long time that long-time members know the main points of each party’s political agenda. If a candidate’s person platform is more attractive to voters in a state, the state party should adopt those attractive platform planks as part of its platform. Finally, we think a vote would allow for a more representative look at how members of a party feel about who the party should support.

The smaller numbers available at caucuses could turn out to be representative of a county’s voters, but we think it’s also easier to skew those votes as caucuses because more die-hard supporters tend to attend.

While there would be some hurdles to overcome with a primary presidential election, we think they would give a better representation of who voters truly want.


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