Dems Caucus vs. Voters by Kathryn Grosz

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C
aucus voters do not elect all the delegates to
the Democratic National Convention. Only 62
(56%) of Washington’s 118 delegates are elected
through the complex caucus process begun in March.

Primary voters may believe their vote counts towards
selecting a nominee. But, none of the Democratic
primary votes determine any convention delegates.

Primaries more accurately reflect the wishes of
the General Election voters. We need to nominate
candidates that can win general elections. Writing this
on May 14th does not provide the benefit of seeing the
results of Washington’s non-binding primary. However,
Nebraska may show the trend. They caucus like we
do and their primary, like ours, does not determine
delegates to the National Convention. At their March
5 caucus, Sanders got 57% and Clinton got 43%. That
determined their pledged delegates. But, at their May
10 primary, it reversed. Clinton got 53% and Sanders
got only 47%. The primary determined nothing. Their
caucus had 33,460 participants and their primary had
78,510 voters.

The secret ballot allows people to vote for the
person they believe is best for the job without
coercion or reprisals from their neighbors. At the
Clallam County Democratic Convention on May 1,
a Sanders supporter walked up the aisle, by seated
Clinton supporters, telling them “Bernie or no one.”

Near the registration desk, a Sanders supporter
accosted a Clinton supporter and made disparaging
remarks. This is the very reason why Democracies
have secret ballots, so voters are respected and not
subjected to derision or coercion.

Voter participation is always higher in primaries
because it is easier to participate and takes less time.
230,000 attended the March Democratic caucus, but
1.75 million voted Democratic in the 2012 General
Election. (The 2012 primary was cancelled.) 2016
Democratic caucus attendance was only 13% of 2012
Democratic General Election participation.
Here is how Washington selects its 118 delegates to
the Democratic National Convention.

• The State Party Central Committee selects 36
(31%) pledged delegates: 22 At-Large pledged
delegates and 12 Party Leader and Elected Official
pledged delegates
• 17 (14%) are unpledged elected officials (super
delegates) who can vote for anyone they want at the
national convention: our governor, senators, and
house members.
• The tiered caucus process (the voters) selects only
67 (56%) pledged delegates
out of the 118. 230,000
people attended the
March caucus and elected
27,000 precinct delegates
to County Caucuses held
either April 17 or May 1.
They in turn elected 1,400
delegates to Legislative
District Caucuses on May
21, where 67 of the 118
National Delegates are
elected.

Voter participation
should be supported, not
blocked. Mail-in ballots,
like Washington’s, give
everyone the opportunity to vote, not just the people
with a whole day available on caucus day.

It is time to let the people fully participate in the
allocation and selection of delegates to the Democratic
National Convention. The voters should elect all
the delegates, not just 56%. I advocate selecting and
allocating delegates based on a primary, not a caucus.
The voters deserve better than what we have now.

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