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March 1 means caucus time for Coloradans, and for this highly contested presidential race, all the candidates are attracting avid support.
The turnout on Super Tuesday is expected to be in the thousands all across the state. Regardless of how many people favor a candidate, winning the caucus means having more supporters involved than the opposition.
As always, it’s important for students to participate, so here’s what you need in order to get involved:
Find your precinct and your site
There are over 230 precincts in Colorado, each identified by a number and corresponding site or combined super-site. You may have noticed signs at the University Memorial Center with precinct numbers on them, and that’s because a super-site of multiple precincts will be held in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. Caucuses meet in neighborhood gathering places like cafes, schools and churches. It depends on where you live, but for those living near campus, the Glenn Miller Ballroom will be the easiest location.
Yes, you have to be physically present, and you definitely don’t want to miss out on this. Registration starts at 6:15 p.m., and these sites require punctuality. Unfortunately, if you didn’t register as a Republican or a Democrat by January 4, you can’t participate in your party’s caucus. Once you’ve been checked in, you will enter the site and meet with your precinct under its numbered sign.
Getting down to business
The action will begin at 7 p.m. sharp. Representatives for each candidate will speak on the campaign’s behalf to the whole congregation. Then, you will break into your respective precinct groups, which is likely to be a tricky process with lots of people. Patience and respect will go a long way. Once you’ve separated, the first order of business will be electing a caucus chair, a caucus secretary and two precinct leaders to run and record what goes down. After everyone is situated, you’ll be given the chance to discuss and advocate for the candidate you support with your fellow voters.
Delegating the delegates
This is the whole reason you came. Each precinct has two to four delegates depending on voter participation and registration. The delegation process happens in two steps.
The voters decide how many delegates each candidate gets. Done rather simply, voters either do a raise of hands or separate into groups for their respective candidates. With some precise and often complicated math, the delegates are assigned based on popular vote in the precinct.
The delegates and their alternates are elected. Anyone can volunteer, but this involves going to multiple conventions and possibly even the Democratic National Convention. Whoever is chosen by the candidate supporters is expected, but not legally required, to vote for the candidate they were elected for.
That’s the democratic process
Once the delegates are elected and assigned, the caucus is done, and all in the span of about 40 minutes to an hour. If you attend, part of the decision lies in your hands regarding who will win Colorado, or at least Boulder County. The caucus gives everyone an opportunity to sit, discuss and be truly democratic on a smaller level. The process is hard and far from perfect, but organizing so many people in one space is no simple task. Be patient and attentive.
You have nothing to lose by exercising your voting rights, so go out and do it!