North Texas Daily

Caucuses should be retired forever

Caucuses should be retired forever

Caucuses should be retired forever
February 13
09:00 2020

It can be argued that caucuses were once a useful and beneficial tool for rural towns, but in today’s society, caucuses, such as the Iowa or Nevada ones, are out of date and out of touch. Larger cities and suburbs have no business hosting a caucus and instead should be hosting primaries. 

Deciding who the next presidential nominee is is a big deal. It should not be treated as a fun little summer camp activity that caucuses so exemplify. 

Only 29 percent of respondents believe closed caucuses and primaries are the correct and fair way to select a party nominee, according to an Associated Press-NORC study

Eighty-one percent of people said presidential primaries — or elections where voters cast secret ballots throughout the day just as in other elections — were the fairest way to elect a nominee in that same poll, according to the same Associated Press study.

Caucuses tend to exclude voters, especially to those who are parents, working, disabled and among other things. 

Most employers do not allow their employees to take time off to participate in caucuses, and a lot of people cannot afford to miss out on a whole day of pay to participate in a caucus either. Some caucuses can last for many hours and many parents cannot find or afford childcare for the time required to participate in a caucus.

In addition to this, people in certain professions, such as journalists and teachers, are not supposed to voice their political opinions. Therefore, they cannot actively participate in a caucus where they are publicly displaying and arguing for their own personal and political beliefs. 

For the first time, Iowa Democrats announced they were offering accommodation requests for voters with disabilities. The Iowa Republican caucus still does not have any accommodation systems in place though. While this was a good first step for the Democratic caucus, it was long overdue and was still criticized by disabled voters for being unorganized and poorly-planned. As for the Republican caucus, they must have forgotten that disabled people might have wanted to participate in expressing their views. 

Besides all of the exclusionary practices caucuses seem to thrive on, the recent Iowa caucus proved immensely troublesome because there were no clear results that followed the ending of it. Many of the precinct captains were unable to properly send in the final votes to get a clear winner. This was in large part due to a new app that was used to properly report the results. The Iowa Democratic Party tweeted out a statement that read, “We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results. In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results.” Despite the lack of results for a winner, The Iowa Democratic Party also ensured in the same statement that, “This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion.”

Shadow Inc., the company that created the new mobile app, also released a statement on Twitter that apologized for the delay and the “uncertainty it caused to the candidates, their campaigns, and Democratic caucus-goers.” It seems very evident that the new app used was one that was not fully tested to its advantage, so it is a wonder why it was unleashed for a large caucus when it very obviously was not up to par.

Caucuses are a blatant form of voter suppression. Without caucuses, more voters from wider demographics and backgrounds will be able to have a say and voice their beliefs in a far more fair and simple way. Now after the debacle at the Iowa caucus, it seems like a perfect time to retire caucuses forever. They seem to not be able to keep up with current technology, let alone execute a smooth process, either.

Caucuses tend to be slow, error-riddled, confusing and exclusionary. It is time to fully switch to primaries, so more voters will be able to have the opportunity to participate in a very crucial step of our elections.

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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