County caucuses wait for precinct boundary lines
County caucuses are late this year due to redrawing precinct boundaries and statehouse district lines.
Democratic and Republican caucuses are set for Tuesday, April 23.
Normally, caucuses would have been held April 2, said Garfield County Democratic Party Chairwoman Leslie Robinson.
This year, Robinson will host one countywide caucus for registered Democrats on April 23, beginning with a social hour from 6 to 7 p.m. in Room 301 of the county courthouse in Glenwood Springs. The caucus will run from 7 to 8 p.m.
Caucuses are usually held in each precinct, but low attendance in past years prompted Robinson to hold one meeting.
In another unusual turn, the caucus will be immediately followed by the Democratic county assembly, in the same place, from 8 to 9 p.m.
Having the caucus and assembly on one night is a first in the state, Robinson said.
“What I hope to prove, at least for the smaller counties, is by combining them we could expect more people to show up,” she said. “I’m lucky if I get 10 people to show up. By doing this fast track, I hoping to get more participation,” she said.
Republican caucuses, which have always drawn a good crowd, will be held in each of the county’s 25 precincts, said Carole Brown, Garfield County Republican Party Vice Chairman. Caucuses are set for 7 p.m. on April 23, but the exact locations are not set because the new precinct lines have not been made official, she said.
“We’re just waiting to line up places,” she said.
Brown expected the new boundaries to be declared official by the middle of next week.
The problem with the new precinct boundaries in Garfield County, which were drawn by a redistricting committee in Denver, is that some do not follow specific landmarks such as roads or creeks, said Garfield County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf.
Alsdorf drove around the county Wednesday following the new precinct boundary lines, and made note of those that need to be adjusted.
She said an official map will be presented to the county commissioners for their approval Monday.
The county will get two new precincts because of population growth and redistribution since the 1990 Census. The new precincts will be in Cottonwood Mobile Home Park east of Rifle and in Battlement Mesa, she said.
Both Brown and Robinson said anyone is invited to attend the caucuses. The only prerequisite is being a registered Democrat or Republican.
“Independents take themselves out of the process,” Brown said. “I call them Dependents because Republicans and Democrats make the choices for them.”
Independents are left with the ballot questions selected by Republicans or Democrats in caucuses, and in county and state assemblies, she added.
Election issues are sorted out in caucuses for consideration at the state assemblies. The Republican state assembly is June 1 in Colorado Springs. The Democratic assembly is June 1 in Denver.
“People need to get involved with the political system,” Robinson said. “I don’t care what party they belong to, I urge them to get involved. If you want to preserve a pure democracy, get involved with the caucuses.”
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