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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Primaries suck for students from caucus states

One of my close friends and I recently bickered over the upcoming presidential election. We each support different candidates, but since he is an Arizona citizen who’s lived in Tucson his entire life, he can actually help his preferred candidate get to the general election. I, on the other hand, am from Kansas City, Kansas, and therefore have very little opportunity to vote in the upcoming primaries. It’s actually extremely difficult for out-of-state students from caucus states to vote this March.

It all gets rather confusing when discussing primaries versus caucuses. The main point to understand is that primaries are by ballot, and caucuses are held in person. Only 13 states still use the caucus system.

Kansas — always a beacon of modernity — chooses to caucus, meaning that unless I can charter a flight or take the world’s most boring two-day road trip, I won’t have a chance to support my preferred democratic candidate.

“Why don’t you just register to vote in Arizona, Greg?” Admittedly, part of the reason is simply that I’m lazy. Like, really lazy. But voting is a right; it shouldn’t require a ton of effort and jumping through hoops. To vote in the primaries online, citizens in our state need an Arizona driver’s license—not something an out-of-state student is likely to have. Last year, I only lived in Arizona for six full months, and procuring an Arizona license just wasn’t a priority while I was a full-time student living here.

Of course, there is the in-person option. I’d have to find out where the County Recorder’s Office is, and fill out my registration form there. This can pose a real challenge for college students who have busy schedules or a lack of a means of transportation to get off campus. I could also print a registration form and send it in by mail, but this form asks for an Arizona driver’s license, something I can’t get by mail.

Even if I could somehow show up in Kansas for the caucuses, it’s hard to imagine actually going all the way there just to sit for hours listening to the same old rhetoric I’ve been privy to since last year.

Ultimately, this entire system feels geared toward older generations who are more comfortable with doing business face to face. Even worse, caucusing feels like something that is only accessible to retirees with plenty of free time on their hands. Students and busy young professionals have to try to find time outside of school and work to participate in the unnecessarily long caucuses.

Out-of-state students shouldn’t be required to make it home in order to caucus, period. With such a rigged system, it’s no wonder that the establishment Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, continues to win delegates over champion-of-the-youth Bernie Sanders.

Those of you who can vote online in primary states: please make your voice heard this March. The rest of us would gladly vote with you, if we could.

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