Lynn Abbott: Voice your choice

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— Democrats, get ready to caucus. Feb. 5 is Super Tuesday, our caucus day, along with 23 other states in the union. For the first time, we Coloradans have the opportunity to "voice our choice" of presidential candidates early enough in the process for our votes to count. Don't miss this opportunity. If you have never participated in a caucus, this article will give you an idea of what to expect. We're expecting large turn-outs, so arrive early, be patient and enjoy the excitement of grassroots politics.

What you will do at each precinct caucus: Among other tasks, you will select your precinct's preferred presidential candidate and you will determine what resolutions you want to see in the Democratic Party platform. To select the presidential candidate, your precinct will first take a straw vote to see if each candidate has 15 percent or more of the total number of precinct members in attendance. Any candidate who does not have 15 percent is no longer viable in your precinct. Members who declared for that candidate can then align themselves with one of the other candidates (or they have the option of remaining undeclared). Once it is clear which candidates meet the 15 percent threshold, a final vote for presidential preference is taken. The results of this preference poll will be reported immediately to the Colorado Democratic Party and from there to the national party and national news media. This year, our voices truly will be counted.

Each precinct caucus also will elect delegates to the County Assembly, based on the percentages of the final presidential preference vote, and elect two precinct committee people, who are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party and are essential to the election of our candidates and for party activism.

Resolutions for the party platform will be presented, discussed and voted on by precinct members. These can include all issues - national, state and local. If you have a proposal to present, you can help your cause immensely by following the prescribed format for resolutions. To request this format, please e-mail lynn_abbott@springsips.com.

For full detail about other tasks to be completed, e-mail lynn_abbott@springsips.com.

Why Caucus? Because it's exciting. Because it's the very grassroots level of government in our country and because you truly can make a difference. Take a stand. Let your neighbors know whom you prefer for president, and hear why they might prefer another. Tell them what you want to see in our party platform and be prepared to convince them why it's important. This is the foundation of American government, and you are the heart of the process.

Editor's Note: For more information and a complete list of caucus locations, see the story on page 5 of today's newspaper.

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