Students prep for Super Tuesday
As Super Tuesday approaches, many students still have questions about how to caucus.
John Marshall, a freshman environmental design major, was unsure of exactly how the caucuses operate or even what their purpose is.
“(A caucus) is to see where the public is leaning for a candidate,” Marshall said.
Sophomore broadcast news major Cydney Ricker had a better idea of what a caucus is.
“A caucus is when people get together to debate the candidates, and then decide whom they like,” Ricker said.
Neither of these explanations is quite correct.
Different from the primary elections, in Colorado the caucuses are the opportunity for citizens to vote directly for whom they think should be the nominee for the party with which they are registered.
According to Colorado Common Cause, a non-profit organization committed to accountable politics, a caucus is a local meeting held by Democratic and Republican parties in different precincts. At the meeting voters are divided into different groups based on which candidate they support. Undecided voters are separated into another group.
People in each group can give speeches about their candidates to try to sway other voters. At the end of the caucus, a party organizer will count how many people are in each group and then determine how many delegates each candidate has won.
According to The New York Times election guide, Colorado has 71 Democratic delegates at stake and 46 Republican delegates at stake, including the congressional district races.
Then, according to the Colorado Common Cause, the delegates cast their votes for their candidate at the county convention and then the state conventions. Based on the votes at the state convention, the delegates will carry those votes to the national convention. The candidate that wins the most delegates at the national convention then wins the party’s nomination.
The Republican and Democratic parties in Colorado have slightly different methods of caucusing. The Republican Party operates on a “winner take all” system for choosing delegates, according to the Republican National Committee.
On the other hand, according to the Democratic National Committee that the party uses a proportional system for choosing delegates, based on how many constituents there are in the precinct.
The Democratic National Committee, in its delegation rules, also states that a candidate needs to win 15 percent viability, meaning that he or she must earn 15 percent of the vote to win any delegates.
Shadi Murib, a junior political science major, is a student staff member at New Era Colorado, a nonprofit organization geared toward youth and politics. Murib said that although some may believe that caucusing is not as important as voting, it is even more important.
“It is the rawest form of democracy,” Murib said. “It is the only actual time you can vote for whomever you want.”
One common misconception Murib said he hears about the caucuses is that it is a secret process. In fact, the caucuses are more like a debate of the candidates’ qualifications. Murib recommends knowing the facts before going.
“You should be ready to defend your candidate,” Murib said. “You can bring information with you to stand up to different supporters. But have fun with it; it isn’t meant to be stressful.”
Students wishing to participate in the caucuses should know their precinct and their caucus location.
Registered voter information can be found online at the Colorado Secretary of State Election Center. Precinct locations can be found at either the Colorado Democratic Party Web site or the Colorado GOP Web site.
Students must be registered with a party and registered in their precinct to participate.
The deadlines to register for a party and for a Boulder precinct have already passed, so verify your voter status at the Colorado Secretary of State Elections Center.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Marcy Franklin at email@example.com.