116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
I am glad to read that the Democrats are pledging to reform the caucuses. Call me skeptical, though. Clearly any reform is about retaining our first-in-the-nation status, not about truly reexamining the fundamental flaws of the caucuses themselves. It is ironic that the caucus system is far more restrictive than Republican voting measures enacted in other states over which Democrats have been rightfully in an uproar.
If we are upset about those measures in other states, how can we possibly still believe in a caucus system that makes you attend in person at a specific and lengthy time (no mail-in ballots even from, say, military personnel serving elsewhere), makes you “vote” in public (no voting free of public pressures), and deprives you of your voice if your candidate doesn’t have enough other votes? I’m all for second-tier voting, but if I want my vote to stand for a “non-viable” candidate, that should be my right. The limits on mail-in ballots in other states, for instance, pale in comparison. And yet we continue telling ourselves the caucus somehow makes Iowans better citizens.
If we are particularly civic-minded and deserving of being first in the nation, why do only one in five registered voters participate in the caucuses? Either we aren’t as civic-minded as we like to tell ourselves, or we’ve been fooling ourselves and maintaining one of the most restrictive systems in the country. The caucuses must end. Allow me to vote.