Letter: Iowa caucuses need a better system


Iowa State students and Ames community members take part in a mock caucus Thursday in the Memorial Union.

Elena Thronhill

The Iowa caucus system is a road block for voter turn out. Will you be voting in the caucus? That’s a question I’ve asked my friends, neighbors and colleges and often the answer is no, I don’t have the time, or, even worse, I don’t think it will matter, I can’t support any of the major candidates.

Can you really blame them? Life goes on, election or not, and asking people to take up to three hours out of their evenings to get to a location that might take 20 minutes to get to is indeed a bit much. Yes, the caucus is a really neat political system, and on paper it sounds great. A community discussion about politics and the fate of the nation or our local communities!

Sounds like an excellent way to make people’s voices heard, but in reality most of the people who show up to caucus are either extremists or have the time and money to set aside three hours.

That’s not a fair system to shift workers, to families, to students and to those who want to make a better world for themselves and their families but have to deal with the realities of everyday life.

I’m not sure what the best answer is to solve these problems. Maybe it’s ranked voting where voters can submit their second and third choices in advance, maybe it’s caucuses that work like phone conferences so you don’t have to physically be there, maybe it’s something else entirely.

No matter what, it should be a discussion that we as a state have so that every voice matters, every person matters and every candidate matters so that our country truly is one by the people and for the people.