How our caucus will work |

How our caucus will work

Su Lum
Aspen, CO Colorado

As promised, I’ve been looking into the caucus process for Colorado ” how it works, where to go etc., and it has not been easy. Nothing on the site, and a whole lot of Google searches leading to dead ends.

Then Blanca O’Leary directed me to a website,, which explains the procedure, told me that the Aspen democratic caucus will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the old youth center behind the courthouse, and advised me to call Camilla Auger, chairperson of the Pitkin County Democratic Party.

I’ll tell you right off the bat that I didn’t find out anything about the Republican caucus except that it will be in the Aspen Square conference room, so any Republicans out there should write letters to the editor. I found a website at (I was trying “reps”) which lacked specifics.

Camilla Auger astonished me by saying that in addition to the caucus there is a primary election in August! I asked how that could work ” what if the caucus ended up sending all nine Colorado delegates to the convention to vote for Obama and the primary election overwhelmingly supported Clinton?

Camilla said she’d get back to me and did, with news that surprised both of us. There is indeed a primary election on Aug. 12, but YOU DON’T GET TO VOTE FOR YOUR PRESIDENTIAL CHOICE ” it’s just for state offices!

Your ONLY opportunity to have a voice in the presidential run-off is at the caucus. Dinner is served at the youth center at 6 p.m., and doors close at 7 p.m. (no exceptions, state law). A chairperson is elected, each precinct has its own table, and aggregate decisions are made on which delegates will represent the county. At a future date, the county delegates all decide who will represent the state at the national convention to be held in Denver in August.

Caucus decisions also are made regarding the presidential candidates’ positions on the ballot and on various resolution suggestions for the Democratic platform ” whatever the participants want to bring up, such as the war, environment, economy and, I’d hope, pro-choice.

This sounds to me like the evening from hell, but Camilla assured me it is quite fun and exciting.

The political implications get worse. First, if you’re a registered Independent, you are totally screwed. No changing to one party or the other at the last minute, the deadline for that was Dec. 5. Independents may attend, but may not vote on anything.

Second and worse, the elected delegates are not bound to support the candidates they are being sent to the national convention to vote for. They are asked to honor the voice they represent, but once they get on that floor the delegates are free agents. To me this defeats the entire purpose of the process, which appears more and more ridiculous as I find out more about it.

I’m very curious to see how many Democrats show up at the youth center and wonder how in the world they will all fit. I figure that if I ” who abhors such gatherings ” am going, the place will be packed.

Anyway, see you there.

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