What Are the Disadvantages of a Caucus?

by Michael E Carpenter
Election party games should focus on teaching kids the importance of voting.

Election party games should focus on teaching kids the importance of voting.

A caucus is an election process that helps select political figures to represent local, state and federal positions. A famous caucus is the Iowa Presidential Caucus, which has determined the political fates of many candidates. As with any election system, the caucus system of selecting candidates has its disadvantages.

Low Voter Turn Out

The largest disadvantage to caucus is low voter turn out. According to Komo News, typically only 2 to 4 percent of registered voters come out to caucus. This low voter turn out can lead to skewed results and not be representative of the people as a whole. There are many reasons for low voter turn out, including apathy toward candidates, length of the caucus and no absentee ballots.

No Popular Vote

Caucuses do not use a popular vote system like primaries do. The caucus holds a vote for all the candidates, which the voter selects. Each candidate must receive a certain percentage of the vote to remain on the ballet. Voters that support a candidate that does not receive the required percentage of votes must then select a new candidate, and a new vote is held. This means that Candidate A may have 40 percent of the votes at the beginning and win the initial vote. However, as candidates can be dropped from the ballet, Candidate B could win because he was the better "second choice" for many voters.

Time Consuming

The process to decide a caucus can be very time-consuming, compared to a primary vote. Voting in a primary can literally take only a few minutes' time in many places. A caucus, on the other hand, can take a few hours to complete, with multiple votes. The time-consuming aspect of the caucus is one of the main factors in low voter turn out.

No Secret Ballet

In a primary, a voter enters a booth to vote for the candidate of his choice in private. When participating in a caucus, a voter must declare who he supports out in public. Some people are not comfortable sharing their political affiliations with all their neighbors in the community.

About the Author

Michael Carpenter has been writing blogs since 2007. He is a mortgage specialist with over 12 years of experience as well as an expert in financing, credit, budgeting and real estate. Michael holds licenses in both real estate and life and health insurance.

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