I must admit considerable chagrin, at my age, having been deeply involved in Democratic politics during my adult life and still knowing so little about the political caucus process.
After reading several caucus articles in our local newspapers, I telephoned Camilla Auger, our Democratic guru, in an effort to become more informed. Following our conversation, I got on the Internet and found a website about primaries, caucuses and convention systems. This is some of what I learned:
Colorado does not have a presidential primary election. Democrats will not have a chance to vote for a Democratic candidate, except at the caucus and in the general election. We are one of only 20 states that has precinct caucuses rather than primaries.
Caucuses are meetings, open to all registered voters of the party, at which delegates to the party’s national convention are selected. Voters in attendance at the caucus divide themselves into groups according to the candidate they support. Undecided voters congregate into their own group, and supporters of particular candidates try to convince them to choose a candidate.
Voters in each group are invited to give speeches supporting their candidate, trying to persuade others to join their group. At the end of the caucus, party organizers count the votes in each candidate’s group and calculate how many delegates to the county convention each candidate has won. (Honestly, I don’t know whether we have county conventions ” another phone call perhaps.)
Delegates at the national convention are pledged to vote for the various candidates based on the candidate votes received at the precinct caucuses, depending on the state’s party rules. Each Democratic candidate is awarded a number of delegates in proportion to the support and votes they received in the caucuses.
I’ve excluded information about the Republican party caucuses because … just because.
Aspen will have a citizens’ Democratic caucus that meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the former youth center located above the Rio Grande parking garage. Dinner will be served. I’ll be there to be part of an important Democratic process I’m embarrassed I know so little about.
See you there, I hope.
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