I’ve never really been into politics and come from the Great Britain so don’t have a lot of experience with the United States voting system. I understand each state is different and this is what I grasped from Missouri’s voting system this year.
The Missouri Republican state committee will hold a caucus on Mar. 17, to decide its delegates, as apposed to the primary vote many Missourians were expecting. This is because of the republican national committee rules. The state may have been penalized if a primary vote was held before March. A primary vote will take place on Feb. 7, however, this vote will not count.
CNN wrote an article about the two different types of nominations. I was able to understand from their explanation that a primary vote involves handing over your vote at your nearest polling station and keeping your choice private. The alternative caucus vote is very different. Voters must stay the entire time the voting is taking place whether this is a short 10 minute or longer several hour processes. You verbally give your vote and it can often result in debate.
The University of Maine’s Political Science Professor Mark Brewer said it produced a “lower voter turnout.” This could be a result of the time consuming nature of the vote or the fact that the vote is given face to face. Non-confrontational personalities may feel intimated by the prospect of a vote which may result in a debate could be pushed away by the idea.
The fact a primary that won’t actually count towards choosing the delegates will be held also seems rather pointless. I did read, however, that a state law required the primary vote to take place on Feb. 7.
The Southeast Missourian said local members of both political parties described the vote as “a meaningless – albeit expensive – “beauty contest.””
Laura Egerdal, a spokeswoman for the Missouri secretary of state, said that in the 2008 primary vote $7 million of the tax payer’s money was spent. If the vote will not count it seems ridiculous to pay anything near this much for a 2012 vote.
As an international student it was interesting to see the different rules that apply to different states. Missouri is in this predicament because of specific state rules. It seems unfair that people from some states will have the chance to vote in private while other states have voters choose delegates publicly.