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Primary vs. caucus: The differences and what you need to know

Primary vs. caucus: The differences and what you need to know
Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 09:00:10-05

EL PASO COUNTY — It's been 20 years since Colorado had a primary election and for the last four presidential election cycles Colorado voters have caucused for candidates.

Differentiating between a primary and caucus is something that can be kind of confusing for people and it's especially important we know about both in our state. We asked some voters on Tuesday what they think the difference is.

Kelly Gray said, "The primary is setting up for the caucus."

Andy Brown said, "I don't exactly know the difference." When asked if he was going to caucus on Saturday Brown said, "I guess not because I didn't even know that was happening."

Cassidy Long said, "A primary - you just kind of go in and secretly vote. It's not public. You don't have to hash it out with people in the same room or anything like that."

Simply put - a primary happens by secret ballot and in Colorado it's how voters are choosing their presidential candidate.

A caucus is a more public vote where you gather with your party and voters make a case for their candidates and delegates. Sometimes the candidates will even be present.

Vickie Tonkins, chairwoman of El Paso County GOP, said, "Caucus is just that wonderful grassroots opportunity for individuals in their community and on their street to be involved in selecting who those people are."

On Saturday in Colorado voters will caucus for down-ballot races including congressional, state, and local.

If you're a registered democrat or republican you can be part of the caucus. You'll need to go to your precinct location, which is usually a school or community building, on March 7th.

CLICK on the links below for caucus information in El Paso County.

El Paso County GOP

El Paso County Democratic Party