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Yes: Caucus 'chaos' proves process needs planning

The caucus I attended on Super Tuesday should have been called "chaos." It was hard to find anything positive about the experience except a chance to visit with friends.

The caucus I attended on Super Tuesday should have been called "chaos." It was hard to find anything positive about the experience except a chance to visit with friends.

The slow and cumbersome registration process permitted only two people at a time to sign the blank registration forms or have their names checked from a roster of prior caucus attendees.

No photo identification was requested and there was no review of registration information, providing opportunity for participation by nonprecinct or underage voters.

A variety of small blank sheets of paper was distributed with verbal directions to record the attendee's choice of presidential candidate. Voters were directed to place ballots in an uncontrolled envelope on the registration table, creating a potential for ballot-envelope stuffing.

Verbal instructions informed attendees that after voting for presidential candidates, there would be a meeting to discuss the party platform items. No verbal or printed information was provided for review of the platform items or later voting for the party's Senate candidates.

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Many attendees left after voicing their expectations for discussion about presidential candidates before voting and displeasure about location, time of the caucus and long lines.

Only one presidential nominee's and one senatorial candidate's posters were displayed on the walls of the room. Fairness in providing displays for all candidates needs to be addressed.

Planning, implementing and evaluating works in corporate America. Why would we settle for less from political party leaders? There was sufficient lead time to plan and implement well-organized caucuses. Names of previous attendees were available from which to solicit experienced help.

As for the current caucus system in Minnesota: It's broken and it needs to be fixed -- otherwise, it's a joke.

The caucus system is flawed on multiple levels and needs to be done away with.

During the recent round of caucusing, I observed a vast majorityof individuals in Duluth barely able to get into the door to write a paper ballot for president, and few got to support state and local candidates. There wasn't room for people to participate in the discussions of the different resolutions. Party operatives dominated the resolution process, and the agendawas already set before people could take off their coats.

Caucusing, as it's done now, eliminates those who have young families, jobs, transportation issues or health problems from the process. It seems to me a very undemocratic method of choosing our leaders and party platforms.

A little imagination needs to be used to expand access and real participation. Real-time, online involvement is one option. Moving to a primary process is another option.

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If the political parties truly wish to represent their constituencies, they need to change or face continued disillusionment.

And don't get me started on the ElectoralCollege.

DONETTA C. WICKSTROM is from Hermantown.BILL PUNYKO is from Duluth..

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