Friday, February 8, 2008

It?s time for a primary

I went to the Blaine County Democratic caucus Tuesday night. We had about a 90-minute window to arrive at the Community Campus, a single location in Hailey for the entire county, and cast our votes.

Ballots were readily available to anyone who asked for them. I didn't notice any controls that would have limited how many ballots I got or how many times I voted.

I found myself wondering how people who couldn't be there during that 90-minute period because of family, work, physical, or transportation limitations might have a voice in Idaho's nominating process.

Wednesday morning I did a quick survey on the Super Tuesday national results. I was curious about the results spreads between the Democratic candidates in caucus and primary states. I eliminated Arkansas and Illinois to not skew my survey with either Sen. Clinton's or Sen. Obama's home states. I then found that in primary states the average spread between the two senators' results was 13 percent and in caucus states it was 42 percent. I can't help but think that the enormous differences in those spreads has something to do with access to the process.

A primary would cost Idaho taxpayers more than caucuses do but it would provide all voters with access to the nominating process through absentee ballots and precinct polling stations close to home that are open all day. I hope that Idaho makes that change.

Donna Svei


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