Read the Bills Act Coalition

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

DEBATE! DEBATE! DEBATE!

With 22 days until the Iowa Caucus, the Republican nominees debate it out for the voters in Iowa. With Huckabee land Romney battling for the caucus win, the debate was not the fireworks display I was expecting. Huckabee has taken the lead in surveys of likely Iowa caucus goers but anyone that knows anything about the caucus process knows that polls do not tell the story for caucuses as oppose to the primary. For those of you unfamiliar with the Caucus process, the Iowa caucus operates very differently from the more common primary election used by most other states. The caucus is generally defined as a "gathering of neighbors". Rather than going to polls and casting ballots, Iowans gather at a set location in each of Iowa's 1,784 precincts. Typically, these meetings occur in schools, churches, or libraries. The caucuses are held every two years, but the ones that receive national attention are the Presidential preference caucuses held every four years. In addition to the voting, caucus attendees propose planks for their party's platform, select members of the county committees, and discuss issues important to their local organizations.The Iowa caucus does not result directly in national delegates for each candidate, like the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary. Instead, caucus-goers elect delegates to county conventions, who elect delegates to district and state conventions where the national convention delegates are selected.The Republicans and Democrats each hold their own set of caucuses subject to their own particular rules that change from time to time. Participants in each party's caucuses must be registered with that party. Participants can change their registration at the caucus location. Additionally, 17-year-olds can participate, as long as they will be 18 years of age by the date of the general election. Observers are allowed to attend, as long as they do not become actively involved in the debate and voting process. With these unique mechanisms in place Caucus goers can be influenced to change their vote for a number of reasons so just because a voters goes into the caucus with their mind made up, it ultimately ends up after vigorous debate to be something not so concrete

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