Guest Column: Understanding the caucus process

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By Paula Davis

Special to the Herald Times

RBC | There’s a lot of talk about transparency in government. This transparency is more than just what happens in Commissioner or City council meetings, it’s about having clear and accurate information about what happens at all levels of government. Say you have a septic tank failure and so you go to your local building and planning office and ask for the information you need to have the system replaced. And what if you’re told, “we don’t have that information.” Or maybe you want to build a fence, a garage, or a house and no one can explain to you the permitting process. Or maybe they do give you information and halfway through construction you’re told you’re doing it wrong because you were given the wrong information.

There are meetings, and either they are too long or too short. Colorado has open meeting laws. Study up; if those laws are being ignored, then speak up from a position of knowledge. The larger the unit of government the more business there is to do. If the commissioners are concerned about the amount of time they spend in meetings, they can time limit their agendas. They get paid to be full time employees of the people of Rio Blanco County. If meetings are too short and all that gets done is “rubber stamping” the agenda items, then there is a problem.

So, in the interest of transparency, here is a short tutorial on the caucus/assembly process, from the Democratic perspective. The Republican process is identical.

What is a caucus? A meeting in which local members of a political party register their preference among candidates running for office and select delegates to the county assembly.

What do I need to qualify for the caucus?

– Party registration effective on or before Jan. 8, 2018.

– Have lived in precinct for at least 30 days.

– Have registered to vote in your precinct at least 29 days prior to caucus.

– Caucus number and location – find it at

Why even have a caucus?

– To give party members input in who we send to represent US.

– Demonstrate support for candidates heading toward primary.

– Caucus is a chance to organize as a party, make your voice heard.

– Elect delegates who support your candidates or run yourself.

What do we vote on?

Gubernatorial, congressional, state legislative, county office candidates plus delegates to county assembly. Unaffiliated voters (or Republican voters) can attend the Democratic caucuses, they just can’t vote.

When: Tuesday, March 6, 2018 (Democratic Party Caucus). Check in at 6:30 p.m., gavel at 7 p.m., done by 8:30 p.m.

Where: Check the County Clerk and Recorder posting in the Herald Times public notices.

Paula Davis

Paula Davis is the Democratic Party chairperson for Rio Blanco County.