Feb 032008

Some students at CSU have just realized the quickly approaching Super Tuesday and have no idea how, who, or where to give their vote, and what it means to be a part of the Colorado caucuses.

“I don’t know what that really means,” said Brittany Hoegert, a senior sociology major when asked what a caucus is. “I wish I did. It’s not one of my priorities I guess.”

Apparently, politics is not a priority for a lot of students on campus. Few students interviewed by the Collegian knew the difference between a caucus and a primary, let alone which nominating process Colorado has implemented for this election year.

This year, Colorado is a caucus state. Registered voters go to either a Republican or Democrat precinct location where they break into groups according to which candidate they support. While Republican caucuses generally act in a straight-forward voting process, the democratic process is more complicated: Attendees will first take part in a pre-presidential poll, so that initial results can be issued to the media. Caucus-goers then debate the issues and the candidates before being called to a final vote.

In states holding primaries, voters cast their votes in closed or open ballot and the popular vote wins the state.

This is a simple overview of the process. In reality, there are a lot more steps taken to determine the nominees each state will support at the Republican and Democratic Conventions.

Some faculty and students say the complicated and inconsistent methods are a big reason for hesitation and lack of interest in the nomination for a President Elect.

Nicole Detraz, an international relations professor, said at this level people know elections are coming but they don’t know how candidates are chosen because no one tells them how it works.

“Nobody’s ever gone through the intricacies of the process.” Detraz said. “It’s a complicated system that varies from state to state.”

Doug Tait, a senior biology major, was unaware of the caucusing process and how it is different from primary elections held in many states. “I had heard those two terms used. I think it would make more sense if it was a straight popular vote,” Tait said.

Confused by the presidential nomination process, Kevin Hackett, a freshman applied computer technologies major, is still unsure of the influence caucusing has on determining a presidential nominee.

“It’s a lot of effort and I didn’t think the caucus mattered,” Hackett, said. “If I knew (the caucus) is going to make a difference in who the candidate is going to be and that I could contribute to it, (I would vote.)”

Jared Goldstein, a sophomore business major, tried getting some of his questions answered when he registered to vote but wasn’t satisfied.

“I didn’t feel like they cared when I registered to vote,” he said. “I was trying to talk to the lady and she just took the application. She kind of soured the experience.”

Joanna Kaman, a junior double majoring in political science and economics, and Taylor Kanode, a junior arts and humanities major and political science minor, are two students closely following the elections and are frustrated that their peers aren’t doing more to be informed.

“It’s about taking the initiative. (When students don’t vote) it makes the rest of us look bad,” Kanode said. “It’s not just about voting for the president. It’s about the nomination as well.”

Kanode and Kaman say they both have been influenced by their parents’ political interaction. While they understand not everyone’s parents are involved, they find that there are enough outlets to be informed if students would try a little harder to focus in on what they see and hear.

“Just open your ears to it. Just pay attention. Just vote,” said Kaman. “It’s not complex. You just need an experience of it.”

Senior reporter Kaeli West can be reached at news@collegian.com

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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