Thursday, January 3, 2008

What the heck is a caucus??

If you've gone anywhere near a TV or a newspaper the past few days, you'll notice that the news has been bombarded with the Iowa caucus. Weeks of campaigning in Iowa boils down to tonight, when tons of Iowans are expected to show up at local schools, churches, libraries, etc to cast their support for the Presidential candidate of their choosing. Like many of you, I really had no idea what a caucus was, and am still kinda confused about the complicated process. But, in an effort to better knowledge myself about the general ongoings of the country/world and to fully prepare for the all-important Presidential elections in November, I've tried to simplify the whole process for you, and for myself.

CNN explains it better, but here is the basic lowdown:

*A caucus is defined as a meeting of supporters of a political party, to nominate candidates for political offices.

* The Iowa caucus is the first major electoral event of the nominating process for the President of the United States, and an early indicator of which candidates might win the nomination of their political party at their national political convention later in the year.

* The Republican party and Democratic party each hold their own caucus on the same night, but with their own rules:

Republican Party: A secret ballot system much like regular elections, where supporters write down their choice of candidate for the Presidential nomination. These votes get tallied and sent to party headquarters.

Democratic Party: The opposite of a secret ballot, voters publicly show their support by walking over to and standing in the part of the room (corner, space on wall, whatever) designated for the candidate of their choice. Party officials count up the 'votes', and determine if each candidate has at least 15% of the vote in that precinct. This is the first tally. If a candidate doesn't meet this percentage, supporters of that candidate will have the chance to 'vote' again, by walking over to the candidates that have made the cut and have at least 15% of the vote. This is the second tally. In between the tallies, there is a persuasion time, where a supporter from a candidate who made the cut gets sent over to the voters of candidates who didn't make it, to to convince them to vote for their candidate. Once the second tally has been taken, the results are sent to party headquarters.

Exciting, right? Especially because the race is so close between the candidates this time around: CNN Polls show Clinton at 33%, Obama at 31%, and Edwards at 22%.

Of course, final results for both parties will depend on who makes it out to the caucus with the weather and all. And this isn't the say-all of who will win the party nomination. But it is an interesting part of the process, as well as the beginning of a long journey to Nov. Let the voting frenzy begin.


Jessie said...

I really don't pay attention to all this stuff thats going on. I think i should start paying more attention ? si ? no -_- but now i know what a caucus is but i will forget in a couple of mins.

Anonymous said...

go Edwards!