Election 2012: Caucuses are direct democracy
On January 3, Iowa held its caucus. It’s the first election in the presidential primary campaign.
“A caucus is like a town hall meeting when people come and directly participate", says Steve Robinson, precinct D74 chairman. "A caucus is a direct democracy."
Everyone who votes has to be a member of the Republican party. One person per candidate can stand up and talk to the audience about the candidate they support. They have five minutes to do this. Each person is then given a ballot and puts a checkmark next to the name of the candidate they choose. All the ballots are counted right away and the results are announced to the audience at the caucus. The caucus officials call the totals into the county, and the county officials call the information into the Iowa state headquarters. All of this happens within two to three hours.
Between the two caucus sites I visited, there were 312 people. The oldest person was 93 years old and there were many people in their 20s. Everyone was there for the same thing: to vote for the person they think would be the best to lead our country.
"I believe [the caucus] the most unique expression of American democracy in the country,” Scott Anderson told me.
Photo: Kid Reporter Adam Metivier with precinct D74 chairman Steve Robinson on caucus night in Iowa. (Photo courtesy Adam Metivier)