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What’s wrong with the caucuses?

Chad Thompson

There’s something wrong with the Iowa Democratic caucuses. But it isn’t just about an app malfunction or how members of the party report the results.

In my Fort Dodge precinct, 112 showed up to caucus.

It was well run by our temporary chair.

The process as it’s currently designed, was conducted fairly, at least in my precinct.

But I don’t think I saw one minority in the room. And there couldn’t have been more than a few people who were under the age of 30.

Part of that has to do with the demographics in Webster County. Yes, it’s an older population here.

But there’s more to it than that.

In the days leading up to the caucuses, I pleaded with some of my neighbors to participate. To no avail.

I asked some of my friends around my age if they planned to participate. Again I came up empty.

Some had their favorite candidate — a person they would vote for if the system made sense to them.

They just didn’t want to participate in the process.

For others, they are working a night shift or have other obligations.

Regardless, the amount of participation from minorities and young people appears to be lacking.

And part of the reason for that is people just don’t get why or how the caucuses work.

I was confused about the process myself at one point and typically need reminded of how it works when the caucuses come up again.

And then in the end, the number of delegates candidates receive feels like a mystery.

Voting should be as inclusive as possible. And people want timely results.

The current process doesn’t seem to allow for that.

This isn’t the fault of the hard-working volunteers. It’s the system they are being asked to work within.

The Iowa caucuses simply aren’t inclusive or efficient enough anymore.

It’s time for the Iowa Democratic Party to change its format with the goal of accommodating more voters and speeding up the process, while still recording accurate results.

Chad Thompson is the city editor of The Messenger.

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