Friday, February 1, 2008

Colorado caucus: grassroots politics at its best

There is a lot of information on the Internet about how to go to your caucus meeting
Feb. 5.

The caucus is where the nominating process starts for each individual party. It is the first step in the grassroots partisan political process. Caucuses are made of neighborhood precincts. Eagle County is divided into 30 precincts. The Secretary of States Web site has a tool for researching local precincts at

So why should you go to your caucus meeting? Dont we all have enough on our plates? You might think that primaries would be much simpler and less time-consuming, but through the caucus system you can directly influence who is on the ballot to represent your party in November. It is grassroots politics at its best. If you are frustrated with status quo politics, the caucus is where you can begin to influence the future. If there are issues in your party you would like to support or candidates you want to support, it starts at the caucus level. You must attend your precinct caucus if you want to support your candidate by being a delegate for the county assembly, state or national conventions.

At the caucus meeting, interested people gather in their precincts to discuss what the party platform should look like and to elect people to the county partys central committee. They also elect delegates to the county assemblies in the spring. At the county assembly, candidates are chosen for county offices and delegates are chosen to go to the state convention to select party candidates for state offices.

In past years, Colorado voters have voted for president in a primary election in August. The candidate choice for both parties was pretty well decided before Coloradans had a chance to vote, due to the timing of our primary. This year we are part of Super Tuesday and our votes at the caucuses will have more influence on the national level than they have in the past. Dont miss an opportunity to be part of this historic event in Colorado.

Any ordinary caucus participant who can articulate his or her candidates strengths can have extraordinary influence in these gatherings. If you think your candidate is great, go to your caucus and tell your neighbors why they should support him or her  not everyone at the caucus will have made their decision before they get there. And remember the people who take time to caucus usually take time to vote in the general election.

Caucuses are people powered. The caucuses are run by volunteers who share similar values. If you are new to the caucus process, there will be plenty of people to help you at the gatherings of both parties. The party leadership basically gets to choose delegates to the national convention in a primary system. The caucus system allows the delegates to be chosen from the grassroots. The caucus system gives the regular person access to the countrys political system and a direct role in American democracy.

There is a lot of voter apathy in this country and in this county. On the local level, the town of Vail election in November 2007 had a dismal voter turnout of 24 percent of registered voters. If you have not voted because you think no one is listening to you or you cannot influence the election process, go to your caucus. Those willing to participate in person can have their voices heard and be part of giving the power back to the people.

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