Caucus. It’s a word that makes grown adults giggle like schoolchildren. But what, exactly, IS a caucus? The meaning can vary slightly depending upon the situation where it’s being used. Today we’re talking about the Republican and Democratic caucuses in Kansas.
How It Works
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A brief summary of the confusing road to the National Conventions:
- The local caucuses, which are happening in Kansas on March 5th, actually only determine the delegates that will go on to the district-level conventions in April. The delegates chosen at the April conventions will go on to the state-level conventions, which is where the national delegates are chosen. So many steps…
- Each political party decides how many delegates it allocates to each state. In Kansas, the Republicans will send 40 delegates and the Democrats will send 37. In July, these delegates will go to each party’s convention and vote for their party’s presidential nominee.
- The Republican and Democratic delegates are awarded based upon caucus vote percentages. Four of the Democratic delegates are “super-delegates”, who get to vote for any person, regardless of the caucus results.
- Since these are partisan political events rather than a government sponsored election, expect to hear speeches and receive lots of “party-favors”. Electioneering is encouraged at the caucuses.
Kansas Republican Caucus
There will be 103 caucus sites, including one at the Westin Hotel in St. Louis for Shocker fans traveling to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Republicans will caucus by county, so if you live in Wichita, you will caucus at Century II between 10am and 2pm. To participate, you must have registered as a Republican no later than February 4th, and must bring a government issued photo ID to verify your registration. Participants will vote via secret ballot and may only vote for a single candidate.
Kansas Democratic Caucus
The process for Democrats is wildly different than the Republicans, and entertainingly more old-timey. Democratic caucus locations vary by senate district. Democrats will be allowed to register in-person at the caucus from 1pm to 3pm. Beginning at 3:30pm, Democrats will vote by standing in an area of the room designated to a particular candidate. If a candidate doesn’t have at least 15% of local caucus goers in their group, the attendees will have a chance to join another group or acquire more people from another group. Once heads are counted, everyone goes home.
It Really Matters
These caucuses are just the beginning of the process to choose the next leader of our country. We’re not deciding what to eat for dinner, or what to wear the next day to work. This stuff really matters, regardless of what you may have heard. If the same people keep showing up for caucuses, elections, etc., nothing will ever change. You do have a voice in our political system. It’s time to get off your caucus and make that voice heard!