We've been hearing a lot about the upcoming Iowa caucus.  You can't watch or listen to any news program without hearing about how important the caucus is going to be.

Admit it, if you're like me, you're thinking, "What the heck is a caucus anyway?"

What is a Caucus?

Caucuses are held instead of traditional primaries in four states, Iowa, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Nevada.

The caucus process is about as old school as you can get.  Registered voters of a particular political party gather at their local voting places.  This is usually a school, firehouse, or church.  Once they arrive, people physically divide themselves into groups based on the candidate they support.

How Does a Caucus Work?

Imagine a big room, and in one corner all the Trump supporters would gather, in another corner, the Haley supporters, DeSantis supporters would be in the third corner, and  Ramaswamy supporters would occupy the last corner.  There's even an area for undecided people.

Representatives of each candidate then present reasons why they support their candidate and attempt to persuade others to join their group.  This is where things get interesting.

At this point, people can change their minds about who they support, and people will physically move from one group to another.  Once things settle, a vote is taken, and the candidate with the most votes gets the delegates.

One disadvantage to a caucus is that it is a time-consuming process, and the casual voter, probably won't participate.  Voter turnout for caucuses tends to be low.

Why Don't We Caucus in New Jersey

Here in New Jersey, we hold traditional primaries.  You go to a voting location and register your vote.  So why don't we caucus here in New Jersey?  I asked an expert on New Jersey politics, WPG Talkradio's  Harry Hurley that question,

It’s not that the caucus system couldn’t work in New Jersey … it’s a matter of choice.

Some states, typically smaller ones, opt for the caucus system, where communities gather together and discuss the various candidates.

Then, as a collective, they arrive at a mutual decision.

Most states, (including New Jersey) prefer the one-person, one-vote format and choose to hold a Primary Election system.

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