Missouri had a funny election process this year. First we had our “beauty contest” primary February 7th costing the state around $7 million. This non-binding vote did not count because the national Republican party had recently passed rules–the MO primary was a month too early. In order to keep all 52 delegates, Missouri opted to also hold a caucus in March. However, while keeping all delegate votes, I believe the people lost much of their power by holding a caucus.
Whereas a primary allows people to vote privately, to come-vote-and-leave with polls open at relatively convenient times, a caucus is a communal event. It is a face-to-face, hours-long commitment where you must be there the entire time whether the event is 1 hour or many. Needless to say, this is not a very family friendly outing! If you happen to have young children, this event is particularly less appealing unless you can hire a babysitter. But what about single parents? People on limited incomes? Or what if you have an inflexible work schedule? Additionally, there is no absentee voting with a caucus. So, if you must be out of town or if you are a home-bound citizen, your voice will not be heard.
And one more thing, if you happen to be daring enough to attempt to bring your children to caucus, leave plenty of time to get there early. Apparently there is a rule (not necessarily written or advertised) that you must be in your place in line at the appointed time or you will not be able to vote. There is no leeway, not even a minute or two, even if you were there early but couldn’t find a parking place, and having multiple children with you who are excited to learn about the process will not soften anyone’s heart.
So, after eliminating many families, single parents, people with inflexible work schedules, and traveling or home-bound citizens, are we really hearing what Missouri wants? I don’t think so! I hope we never have another caucus. A caucus is NOT the voice of the people. Instead, thank you to all those who have helped and will help in future primary elections that allow for a more diverse, more fair electoral process.
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