With wild lead changes and candidates crashing spectacularly only to come back from the dead, nobody would call the GOP presidential race a smooth ride to the nomination. But it’s been almost as turbulent behind the scenes, where the actual process of coordinating and carrying out certain contests has hit snag after snag. Republicans around the country are struggling with an array of problems in states that use a caucus to determine their delegates this year, battling problems from low turnout to mysteriously missing votes. Caucuses, which require citizens to actively participate in a mini-convention with their neighbors in which supporters of each candidate make the case for their vote, are hailed by supporters as a way to energize the grassroots with a more involved approach than primaries. But they’re more time-consuming and complicated than simply dropping off a ballot, setting up more barriers to participation and creating more potential for things to go awry.
The next caucus state is Saturday in Missouri, where already state officials are struggling to explain a mess of rules that will likely leave the winner unclear for weeks after the initial vote. This week voters at county caucus will directly select delegates, bound to no candidate, who will in turn elect delegates at a future district-level convention in April to attend a state-level convention in June to finally pick the state’s choice of delegates to attend the Republican national convention in Tampa. All this after the state already has held one non-binding straw poll vote already, back in February.
After a contentious GOP caucus and recount process, Maine Republican leaders are looking to return to a primary the next time around. It’s one of several states where faulty caucuses have led Republican critics to call for ditching the format for good.
Mitt Romney finished on election night with a small lead over Ron Paul, but various issues with the process prompted a much-disputed recount before Romney could be confirmed as the winner. In the most egregious case, the state party chair claimed that some votes weren’t initially counted because the e-mailed counts ended up in his spam folder. Maine State Senate President Kevin Raye (R) is now pushing a bill that would switch to a more simple primary format. The state’s governor, Paul LePage (R), supports the move as well.
Full Article: 2012: Year Of The Caucus Meltdown | TPM2012.