- 2015 Session
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CMV/SB54 – 2015 Edition
To understand the story of ‘Count My Vote’ (here), you have to understand our caucus system. The mechanics of the caucus system can be a little technical, but here’s the two-sentence explanation:
The members of a political party at the neighborhood level attend a precinct meeting where they elect delegates to the either the county convention for local leaders or the state convention for state-wide positions. The delegates at the county or state convention then elect a political party’s candidates for the primary election.
The caucus system is not without its detractors. Some feel the caucus system is complicated and discourages voters from participating in the nomination process. Furthermore, they dislike the fact that unaffiliated voters are excluded from any kind of participation at the nomination stage. Supporters of the caucus system, meanwhile, believe that a political party should have complete control over who it selects as its candidates. In 2014, the supporters of Count My Vote sponsored an initiative that would have replaced the caucus system outright with a direct primary in which all voters—party affiliated and unaffiliated alike– would directly select the nominees for a primary election.
Out of this discussion came Senate Bill 54 (here), a compromise between the two positions. Sponsored by Senator Bramble and Representative McCay, Senate Bill 54 preserves the caucus system but also allows a candidate to make it to the primary election by collecting a specified number of signatures. There are dual paths to inclusion on the ballot. The bill also allows unaffiliated voters to participate in the nomination process. You can watch last year’s press conference on the bill here.
According to its provisions, Senate Bill 54 takes effect January 1st, 2015, which means the first elections under Senate Bill 54 will take place in November of 2015. Some argue that SB54’s timeline is too rushed, and are currently favoring an effort to keep the caucus system in place for at least the next year. Senate Bill 43 (here), currently on the docket this session, pushes the implementation date back two years and keeps the caucus system in place for the next big election (2016).
The great thing about a compound constitutional republic is that each citizen has the opportunity to bring their ideas forward and have them vetted by a group of citizens that the rest of the state sends to their bidding. Let us know what your thoughts are about this process – leave them in the comments below, or contact your senator to let them know how you feel.
Thanks for paying attention.