All we could agree on in 1976 was that everyone really liked the Bay City Rollers.
All we could agree on in 1976 was that everyone really liked the Bay City Rollers.
Gregg Looker at Flickr

Seven Ways to Improve Caucus Turnout

The voters of Colorado got together Tuesday night to start the process of electing the state’s next governor — or at least some voters did. Back in 2016, they were energized by what they thought was going to be a banner year for Democrats in America’s highest office (surprise!), and caucus attendance numbers were some of the highest ever. But that meant that about 13 percent of active voters participated, which a pretty low number to label high.

So what could fuel participation in the caucus system? What could make Denverites show up in droves previously unimagined? Here are a few modest proposals:

Everyone pictured here is seriously into etymology.
Everyone pictured here is seriously into etymology.

7. Change the Name
The term “caucus” is pretty awkward. It comes, etymologically speaking, from either the Algonquin word for "adviser" or "counselor" or from the social and political Caucus Club of 1760s Boston, which was reportedly named for the Greek word kaukos, meaning “drinking cup.” The former would be nice; the latter is probably more likely. Either way, it’s not the prettiest or most inspirational of terms these days. (It doesn’t help that it’s both a noun and a verb, which no one likes. Make up your mind, caucus.) Wouldn’t it be better if it were called an election soirée or a carnival of Democracy? Anything but caucus.

Caucus responsibly.EXPAND
Caucus responsibly.
Shannon McGee at Flickr

6. Beer
If the whole enterprise was named for a “drinking cup” anyway, let’s bring back the drink. What if we treated the caucuses like they were the end of a 5K? Get some free beer, maybe a bagel and a banana, have food trucks on hand, play some music. Honestly, you could just have the beer, since Coloradans will turn out to celebrate anything if there’s free beer in the mix. Have Oskar Blues craft a beer just for the occasion. Caucus Concoction on tap, anyone?

5. Broncos Sponsorship
Station three Broncos at every caucus location, offer Broncos caps if you wear a jersey, and raffle off signed footballs. It’ll drive up participation, for sure. Whether those super-fans will be all that interested in government elections is a whole other question, but if there’s a write-in candidate, you can be sure of one thing: Governor Elway.

4. Hold Them All in Quiznos
Who doesn't like sandwiches? Especially since caucuses usually start around 6:30 in the evening and go for a couple of hours, at least. People get hungry. Sammies for everyone! And imagine the ad-campaign possibilities. Caucuses: We got a pepper bar!

Put down some papers; it's time to caucus!
Put down some papers; it's time to caucus!
sunsets_for_you at Flickr

3. Puppies
Denver is a dog-loving town, so maybe we can double down on the good deeds and combine the caucus with efforts from the Dumb Friends League. Fill the caucus halls with dogs — they’ll calm nerves, spread smiles, and maybe a few of them will find homes with the good voters who come out to both participate and pet puppies. You’re such a good voter inspiration...yes you are.

Man, I feel like caucusing. And maybe some Funions.EXPAND
Man, I feel like caucusing. And maybe some Funions.
Brandon Marshall

2. Make Them 420-Friendly
Pot is so popular in Colorado that we just can't stop talking about it, so we might as well just forge ahead with the public-consumption thing and put it all into practice during caucusing. It’ll make the whole process a lot more mellow, the debates a lot more philosophical. It's perfect…you know, as long as Jeff Sessions doesn’t hate the political process. Puff, puff, caucus, pass.

It's no Nixonian goodbye salute, but any farewell will do.EXPAND
It's no Nixonian goodbye salute, but any farewell will do.
Gage Skidmore at Flickr

1. Fast-Forward to 2020 Already
Can you imagine the crowds that will turn out to end the Trump era? Yooooooge.

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