The presidential caucus system is under attack after embarrassing contests in Iowa and Nevada put on national display missing ballots, endless counting delays and lots of confusion. The result is Republican activists calling for big change to the antiquated system, particularly to the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. “All the candidates are out there slogging around at Christmastime and New Year’s, and then they produce a non-result result and they can’t even get the count right,” said David Norcross, a former Republican National Committee general counsel and New Jersey GOP committeeman. Norcross told POLITICO that Iowa’s Jan. 3 caucuses were “numbingly stupid.” “How foolish is it for everyone to go to Iowa the first week in January when there are no delegates selected and they can’t even get the vote right? It’s just a joke, it’s Iowa’s joke on you and all of us.”
The problems kicked off at the start of the campaign season in Iowa. After the initial caucus returns were reported, party officials declared Mitt Romney the winner over Rick Santorum by a slim eight votes. But 16 days later, the results were reversed when the Iowa Republican Party released a certified total showing Santorum leading by 34 votes, even though the tally from eight of the state’s precincts were missing.
At first, Iowa Republican Chairman Matt Strawn congratulated both Romney and Santorum and didn’t declare an actual winner because of the missing votes. But after a former Iowa GOP chairman tweeted his dissatisfaction, Strawn declared Santorum the winner. Strawn resigned as a result of the fiasco at the end of January.
The Iowa situation was quickly ridiculed by many GOP activists, but caucuses are an imperfect system whose flaws are exposed — the same way that they are in primaries — when races are exceptionally close, say those who have participated in them. Although some have called for caucuses to be replaced, other say that’s unlikely in the near future.
Full Article: Caucus system under fire – Emily Schultheis – POLITICO.com.