Opinion: It’s time we do away with the caucus

Guest Author

It’s time we do away with the caucus

By Michael Young, senior microbiology student


I attended the Democratic caucus at Lincoln Middle School on Super Tuesday. Though it was inspiring to see such civic engagement, particularly among young voters, the process as a whole was undeniably confusing and problematic. Elderly voters struggled to find air in a dangerously crowded cafeteria. EMTs were called to the scene. People took to climbing trees and standing on tables, shouting to be heard over the crowd. Many people left without casting votes. Without taking anything away from the election workers and volunteers who put forth a heroic and much-appreciated effort to deal with the unexpected turnout, the caucus itself left a bad impression on many. It should not take two and half hours to cast a ballot.

This is about more than just the logistical failures of a single evening. Caucuses reliably depress voter turnout. They completely exclude voters who work in the evening. Caucuses create undue obstacles for citizens without reliable transportation, for the elderly, for the disabled, and for parents who can’t find or afford child care. And while caucuses theoretically provide an opportunity for each side to argue its case to undecided voters, the reality on the ground is much different. There are very few undecided voters at a typical presidential caucus. I witnessed many impassioned arguments at Lincoln Middle School on Tuesday. But I did not see people changing their votes as a result.

The Democratic Party should be in the business of making it easier for people to participate, not harder. It should leave new voters with the impression that civic engagement is a good thing, not a frustrating, tedious, and poorly organized shouting match. There is no reason for a modern democracy to have such pointless obstacles to casting a vote. I call upon the Colorado Legislature to abandon the caucus system and create a presidential primary in its place.

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