Northfield area caucuses on Feb. 5

Super Tuesday is coming. Here’s where to caucus in the Northfield area, 7 pm on Tuesday, Feb. 5:

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Northfield Middle School, 2200 Division St S

Independence Party
New Prague High School, 221 12th Street N.E.

Republican Party
Northfield High School, 1400 South Division St

It’s been a long time since I’ve attended a caucus. How do Minnesota’s caucuses differ from the way the parties held caucuses in Iowa?

55 thoughts on “Northfield area caucuses on Feb. 5”

  1. There were many things that could have been done better. I just think that volunteers were overwhelmed, and that contingency planning was not done.

    The middle school may not have been the best choice as a location, but there are only so many locations where we can put a large amount of people at the same time.

    The #1 thing that could have been done better is DIRECTIONAL signage. The signs were small, and low, so no one could figure out where to go.

    The map could have been closer to the door. It should have been right at the door.

    A couple of volunteers directing traffic would have made a large impact.

    Just having folks going to random tables, resulted in CHAOS. I would have tried to utilize the hallways, and formed nice organized lines.

    Fire codes were greatly exceeded in the cafe during the caucus, as I am sure we blew right through the occupancy limits of that room.

    God bless those that showed up in wheelchairs to caucus. You think it was tough, try it in a wheelchair. It was right close to impossible.

    After everyone got signed in, I thought it went rather well. I think that the local party should do an “After Action Review” to discuss what went well, and what could be done better.

    You have to remember that many that put this on are VOLUNTEERS, and do not have a lot of training or guidance on how to do this. I think that the resourcefulness that was shown in reacting to the problem, and finding solutions is commendable.

    Instead of just venting, folks should contact their party representatives, and give them some constructive comments on how they feel things could be done better. Things get better through incremental change, and they can take that information and plan the next one.

    I would have to agree with some of Ruth’s points though. It is nearly impossible to move that many people through unorganized queues, get them registered, allow them to vote, and move on in such a short period of time. Better ways need to be explored.

    Also, Britt wrote:

    Last night I was stuck on Division street forever…and ever…due to the honest-to-goodness traffic jam caused by all the caucusgoers! While I was sitting in my idling car, I could see the line of cars stretched out behind me from my side view mirror, as well as the line of cars ahead, and I felt some powerful emotions. What a sense of democracy in action, to see the lines of cars coming from all directions. All those people coming out to state their preference for their presidential candidate, participating in democracy at the grass-roots level.

    Nice imagery, but how many of these folks were single occupancy vehicles?

  2. Oh, that was a thoughtless question. Duh. Well, in Chicago, back in the day,
    we prolly would have seen the lack of planning as part of an intentional move to keep the voting to a minimum select group…dirty tricks and all that, but no one in Northfield would do that now…or would they?

    Honestly, I have no way of knowing either way, but I’m just saying, after so many of my years of idealism have blinded me to the real truths of life, I
    tend to wonder about these things from time to time. Just sayin’, that’s all.

  3. Part of the problem with the caucus is that obviously most people do not want to caucus. They want to make it easy and quick and simple and secret and vote.

    I wear a T-shirt when I work out that says “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

    What we have is two different groups. One wants to have a say in specific political races but does not have the time or interest in the rest of the political process. The caucus system does not meet their need. The idea that it might mean stating something you believe in and having some people disagree with you is too intimidating. (Probably not a problem for most of the people on this blog.)

    The largest caucus in Northfield DFL in the past was 4 years ago when we had over 700 at the old Middle School. It was difficult and messy, but exciting and invigorating.

    This year everyone who volunteered to be conveeners were hoping for a good turnout. The only way to handle the crowd would have been to split into 3 or 4 caucus locations. That would cost the DFL party to rent each location. My guess is that most of the attendees did not give any money to defray the cost of the caucus on Tuesday–how were we going to pay for 3 or 4 locations, when we can barely pay for one? (Or for preprinted ballots, voting booths, electronic registration system, etc, etc?)

    The solution does seem to be that we need to go to a primary for the important elections, but caucus for the party platform. (For me, that is the most important part of participating in the caucus.)

    The idea that the DFL party in Rice County was suppose to have crisis management ready to handle the overwhelming numbers who are newly interested in the primary process and voting for their party nominee preference is unreasonable. (By the way, we are us and you and everyone–the party is us.) We did everything we could to get everyone registered and a ballot. Quite a few even stayed for their precinct caucus and worked on delegate and issues. Lots became immediate volunteers with positions of responsibility. We had about 10 (not 2) people directing attendees to their caucus room or the end of the line for 1-2.

    Some were offended because they could not cast their vote in secret (like a voting booth.) I don’t really understand their concern. Anyone could cover their ballot when they voted and have folded it before turning it in so no one had to know who you voted for.

    State DFLers are proposing a change to a primary, which would require funding with our taxes to pay for primary elections, judges, and locations. Republicans are against the system because of the cost and so far, their caucus have much smaller numbers of participants.

    This is our government–what do we want? Is it important for us to have a big turnout to choose our party nominee? If so, we need to have a primary that we will have to pay for (unless Tim Pawlenty can figure a way to bond for it so our grandchildren can pay for it.)

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