Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Why do we caucus? part 2

Last January I asked from a political novice standpoint, why do we caucus? What makes the system of attending a small group meeting better than just going to the booth and voting. And while some of my questions were answered by folks who know a whole lot more than me about inside party politics, I still have to wonder about the whole process.

The questions come up because I am right now sitting in the National Guard Armory in Owatonna, watching mostly nothing. It's primary election day in Minnesota, yet hardly anyone is out voting. What is the purpose of having the caucus process if we still have to have a primary election to pick our candidates? Or the question could be why do we have to have a primary election when almost all of the candidates have been chosen?

I understand that there are still some races that will be won or lost today. Al Franken is facing a surprising challenge in the DFL Senate race. And here in the 1st congressional district, two Republicans (Dick Day and Brian Davis) are facing off to see who will face off against Rep Tim Walz. I did some reading on both of the candidates and couldn't find any major differences in their positions. In the end, I picked Day because he's from my hometown and I've met him on several occasions.

So today, the taxpayers of Minnesota are paying for an election that hardly anyone will come to vote in. In 2004, 76% of Minnesotans came out to vote for president. In 2002, 64% came out to vote for the house and senate races. Today, the secretary of state is estimating 10-15 percent will come out to vote.

It's 8:00 now, and the polls have just closed. Since I can't leave until the election judges are done, I guess I should be happy that they don't have too many votes to count.

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