By Victoria Gill
The Iowa Democratic Caucus was a messy sight to behold in national news. With the upcoming election already marked by chaos, nothing could have been more tenuous than this flux of technological error due.
To be fair, I cannot be as frustrated about the event of the caucus because until then I did not know what a caucus even was. Being a new voter, I am more concerned with the lack of accessibility and clarity the overall election system provides the American people. The caucus encapsulates this more so.
Let me clarify first.
What is a caucus? For any political party, a caucus process is more complicated than a regular primary election. For Iowa, and a few other states, this kicks-off the presidential nomination process.
Vox says that “when [people] show up at one of the 1,100-odd sites, voters will be asked to gather in sections designated for the candidates.”
A candidate is released from a race if they fail to gain at least 15% of the votes. Ever day, people spend hours at their local voting polls listening to future delegates plea for a spot.
“State and local government run the primary elections, while caucuses are a private event that are directly run by the political parties themselves,” accord to Vox.
What happened in Iowa? During the Democratic caucus, a brand-new app was used to count the votes. Unfortunately, due to a coding error, the app crashed and was incapable of compiling the caucus results. This prolonged the final results by more than a day.
Because of this mess up, should this mean that caucuses should be deleted from the election process? I think so.
While Iowa is reported to be protective of its caucuses, they carry a large weight for how presidential candidates will do down the line. One state should not be able to have this much power even if they are underpopulated in comparison to other states.
An issue with this process is the amount of time it takes away from an individual’s day. Not everyone has the ability to sit through a caucus for hours.
Voting in general is not accessible to those who are unfamiliar with the process, how to obtain an absentee ballot, or how to get help if someone is not able-bodied. There are more improvements that need to be made than finding advancements to cut corners when tallying votes.
“At the heart of these innovation is the idea that election administration can be improved and that making voting accessible and convenient goes a long way toward overcoming the costs associated with voting,” Rachel V. Cobb said in a Washington Post article from Feb. 5.