Colorado Caucus

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The Colorado Caucus is the electoral process used in the state of Colorado to appoint candidates for certain political offices and to start the process of electing new leaders for political party leadership.[1] It takes the form of a series of precinct caucuses, meetings of registered electors within a precinct who are members of a particular major political party.[2] The purpose of precinct caucuses is to elect precinct committee persons and delegates to county assemblies, including those that elect delegates to the presidential nominating conventions.


The caucus system was adopted by the Colorado legislature in a special session called by Gov. "Honest John" Shafroth in August, 1910 as part of a package of progressive reforms. It was seen as a way to limit the power of party bosses and to attract more grassroots involvement. The caucus system was abolished in favor of presidential primaries in 1992, but restored in 2002 with the defeat of Amendment 29[3] and cost considerations, the fully restored Colorado Caucus was in 2004.[4] To find your precinct number contact your Colorado County Clerk.[5]

Strengths and weaknesses[edit]

Research carried out in Iowa indicates that a well-designed caucus system "brings candidates’ arguments, strengths, and weaknesses into the open".[6] However, it has recently been claimed that the system "is a poor way to begin the party nominating process in Colorado",[1] in that it "is complicated and often disenfranchises all but the most politically motivated participants."[7] Others feel that the Colorado Caucus is the best tool for the common person, the average, ordinary citizen, to be able to serve in elected public office.[8][9] The late Sue O'brien, Editorial Page Editor of the Denver Post, who some called "the conscience of Colorado" was particularly fond of the Colorado Caucus because it creates repeated opportunities for average, ordinary people to take the first steps toward become political leaders.[10]


Over 3,000 caucuses are held in neighborhoods across Colorado, they are open to the public.[11] Some now meet in homes that are accessible to disabled people, but many meet in public spaces such as schools.

The Colorado Secretary of State is charged with the responsibility of providing information about the system. Caucuses are regulated by Colorado law, but expenses for it are paid by the major political parties that use the system. At this time only the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have enough registered voters to use the caucus-assembly system.

The 2016 Colorado Caucus[edit]

On March 1, 2016 (Super Tuesday), each of the two major parties (determined by number of votes in previous election) held a caucus in each precinct. Members of both the Democratic and Republican parties chose delegates to represent their precincts at the county conventions. Additionally, Democratic party members participated in a presidential preference poll which determined the allocation of delegates based on their stated intent to vote for a given presidential candidate. Regardless of party, delegates are bound neither to their stated intent nor to the preference given by the population they were chosen by.[12] On the weekend before March 1 caucuses both major political parties had state chairs who unilaterally announced they wanted to see an end to the Colorado Caucus, the system that had been entrusted to their care.[13] Partly as a result of poor leadership, the Colorado Caucus this year was chaotic.[14]

The 2017 Propositions 107 and 108[edit]

There was almost no organized opposition to these two measures, and as a result, they easily passed. Implementing them has proven to be difficult. [15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cronin, Thomas E.; Loevy, Robert D. (2012). Colorado Politics and Policy: Governing a Purple State. U of Nebraska Press. pp. 125–6. ISBN 0803244894. 
  2. ^ Colorado Secretary of State website, accessed 18 January 2016
  3. ^ 2002 Amendment 29
  4. ^ Daum, Courtenay W.; Straayer, John A.; Duffy, Robert J. (2011). State of Change. University Press of Colorado. ISBN 9781457111549. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ David P. Redlawsk, Caroline J. Tolbert, and Todd Donovan, "Why Iowa? How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process", University of Chicago Press, 2010.
  7. ^ "Clinton to Make Campaign Stop in Colorado." The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO). Freedom Newspapers, Inc. October 23, 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2016 from HighBeam Research.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ http://"Caucuses aren't for ciphers" by Sue O'Brien, Denver Post
  11. ^,
  12. ^ Fryar, John (28 Feb 2016). "What to expect at Colorado's caucuses on Super Tuesday". Daily Camera. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^