Primaries are Easier and More Efficient Than Caucuses



The Minnesota caucus on March 1 resulted in poor organization and an inconvenience to both voters and volunteers. It showed why the caucus system is outdated and poorly designed for determining the presidential nominee; the state should switch to a primary.

Caucuses, especially ones with high turnout, are not secure. At the Anderson Hall GOP caucus this year, there were countless reports of people getting in without any proof of living in that precinct. While primaries and general elections also have problems with security, they at least have the time to check if a person is registered or help them to register.

The biggest problem with the caucus system is the time limit. Requiring that all caucuses start at 7:00 p.m. and finish by 8:00 p.m. means that many people who wish to participate in the process cannot because of potential conflicts. In an interview with the Up & At ‘Em radio show, former Speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Zellers said that March 1 was the first caucus he has missed, due to his son’s hockey game. If family conflicts can challenge legitimate politicians’ abilities to vote in the condensed caucuses, they likely have a huge impact on everyday voters, too.

Even with the time extension granted on March 1, the caucus lines, combined with the short time-frame, resulted in voters not participating in the caucus. Long lines were not problematic in the past, but it is arguable that this is because the Minnesota caucus has not mattered the way it did this year for the last several presidential cycles. In a primary, people can vote throughout the day, allowing the rush to be spread-out.

Additionally, not everyone can vote in the caucus. Caucuses exclude people who must travel on caucus night, as well as all overseas active duty military.

Supporters of the caucus system point to all of the other activities that occur at a caucus, like electing local party officials and amending party platforms. These other activities are important, but they can be done separately in a nonpresidential caucus. The presidential voting should take place in a primary. This way, the people who want to become involved in their parties can be, but the majority of people who merely just want to support candidates can do so, too.

Some people feel the caucus system rewards them for participating in their party, ignoring that caucuses make it a lot harder to get people involved. Forcing people to endure a long and frustrating process does not endear them to the party; as a result, they likely will not want to set up lawn signs or knock on doors.

Primaries allow more people to participate in an exciting and simple voting process. Conversely, caucuses hinder voters from this ease.