Colorado Caucus 101: Breaking it all down

By: Therese O'Shea Email
By: Therese O'Shea Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Among all of the political jargon and buzz words thrown around during caucus time, the whole process can get a bit blurry for voters. But we've got all of the info you need to go into this politically loaded day as an informed caucus participant.

Mesa County Republicans chair Ruth Ehlers calls it "the very basic grassroots part of the political system." But understanding how a caucus works can be anything but basic.

"Its neighbors coming together, people who live within a precinct all come together. And they discuss the issues of the day, they discuss the candidates,” says Ehlers.

She says the local candidates will stop by briefly to convince attendees why they should choose them to be a delegate to go on to the County Convention. Then two people are elected at each precinct to represent their neighborhood in the Greater Central Committee of the county.

"Those people are the ones who are going to be in charge of making sure get out the vote efforts happen and everything else in their precinct,” says Ehlers.

From there, the elected delegates go to County and State Convention if they so choose.

The same goes for presidential candidates. Delegates are selected to head to national convention to represent their party. There, the delegates vote to select a presidential nominee.

So today will determine what Colorado decides about the four candidates in the running for the Republican Party.

"And the interesting thing was four years ago, Mitt Romney won, two days later; he stepped down and did not run. Which very much disappointed an awful lot of people in Colorado?" says Ehlers.

Leaving many curious as to how that will affect Romney in today's caucuses.

"I’m probably as curious as anybody… to find out how this is all going to play out,” says Ehlers.

So where do you fit in to all of this?

"They’ll want to listen to the various candidates that come through, the people that are talking about the different presidential candidates, and they’re going to just want to express their own opinion,” says Ehlers.

That way you can bring forward any issues you think ought to be part of the republican platform, so they can be voted on and brought to light.

Many also easily confuse primaries and caucuses. The main difference is that in primaries, you go out and cast a vote via a ballot. The caucus, rather, is a chance to discuss the candidates and what they stand for and allow them to come by each precinct.

Although no voting goes on in a caucus, each precinct takes note of residents' preference among the candidates. That's why it's important to get out today, so that the candidates know where they stand amongst the majority of people here in Colorado.

All Mesa County caucuses are scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight.

The first step to getting out and taking part in today’s caucus is to find out which precinct you belong to, which recently changed due to redistricting.
To find out your precinct, you can call the County Clerk's office at 244-1662, and then visit mesacountyrepublicans.com. From there, click the link for precinct caucus locations and find your neighborhood's location.


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