A year ago, the Democratic National Committee mandated that every state enable voters to participate in the electoral process without traipsing to a polling station. The reform was largely aimed at caucus states, where voters must appear at a designated location and devote a full evening’s worth of time to have a say in the democratic process.
Caucus goers meet, enjoy one another’s company, and arrange themselves in groups based on support for certain candidates. Then they debate, and rearrange themselves again.
Nine different US states have migrated to non-caucus systems, however both Iowa and Nevada are long-time hold outs. For many, the experience and cultural ethos of the caucus system is nothing short of an amazing and valuable component of the political process.
Despite an initial interest in allowing for virtual caucuses, or tele-caucuses, on Friday, Iowa’s Democratic Party decided that “…the existing technology [and its accompanying cybersecurity] posed too large a risk of interference from foreign adversaries.”
“We concur with the advice of the DNC’s security experts that there is no tele-caucus system available that meets our standard of security and reliability given the scale needed for the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and the current cyber-security climate,” says Tom Perez, Lorraine Miller, and Jim Roosevelt, of the DNC Rules and By-Laws Committee, in a joint statement.
Some voters and officials alike are troubled by the fact that the first caucus is a mere five months away, and yet states still rely on this neighborhood-friendly, but outdated and non-inclusive system. Those who work graveyard shifts, or who have to care for a parent or a child during evening hours remain unable to participate. Absentee ballots are a thought, but concerns abound. Full-scale redesign proposals are still in the works.
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