Townships Prefer Low-Tech Caucuses to Primaries

By Pyke, Marni | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 9, 2001 | Go to article overview

Townships Prefer Low-Tech Caucuses to Primaries


Pyke, Marni, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Marni Pyke Daily Herald Staff Writer

No electronic balloting. No exit polls. No major networks declaring victors.

But despite the absence of technology and hype, organizers of tonight's Republican and Democratic township caucuses predict they'll survive just fine.

In fact, some party insiders believe the grass-roots experience that a caucus offers voters is preferable to a high-profile primary.

"It brings the average person in if they want to run for office," Winfield Township Republican Chairman Mike Konewko said. "I've seen a lot of people just show up, and I've seen some get elected right then and there."

Parts of Naperville fall into six separate townships - Naperville, Lisle, Winfield and Milton townships in DuPage County and Wheatland and DuPage townships in Will County. Lisle includes portions of Lisle and Naperville townships.

Caucuses will be held by all six Republican township organizations. Democrats in Naperville and Winfield townships also are planning caucuses.

Successful candidates will run in the April 3 election.

Compared to the November presidential race, the procedures are definitely low-tech.

After caucus participants adopt their official rules, each candidate will give a speech and voting will follow.

Most voters will simply mark an X next to favored candidates on ballots and people, instead of machines, will tally the results.

"There will be no hanging chads from this caucus," Republican state Rep. Randy Hultgren of Wheaton said.

Township party organizations have the option of staging a primary or holding a caucus. The Republicans all have opted for caucuses.

The expense of a primary is one key reason, both Democrats and Republicans noted.

"It's a lot less costly to the organization, and the candidates are just as effective," Wheatland Township Republican Organization Chairman Jack Riley said.

"It can cost thousands and thousands to put on a primary," said Hultgren, who is chairman of the Milton Republican Township Organization.

Caucus organizers said the system helps unify party members. …

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