I am chair of the Hopkinton Democrats, but I am writing to express a personal opinion. The opinion is that voting at Special Town Meeting to eliminate local caucuses would result in, at most, a minor inconvenience for the Democrats but a significant and regrettable loss for Hopkinton voters.
The last-minute local caucuses get more candidates on the ballot. Almost every year, we see candidates who were not able to turn in 50 signatures on their nomination papers before the deadline. Some of these candidates are unenrolled and switch parties to run at caucus so they can get on the ballot anyway.
The caucuses also enable the town to indicate candidate party affiliation on the ballot through “Dem Caucus Nominee” and “Rep Caucus Nominee” designations. This is the only way that we are allowed to suggest party affiliation on local ballots, although party is always specified on other ballots. Seeing this information helps voters make informed decisions.
I can’t imagine objecting to getting more candidates on the ballot and providing helpful information to voters, especially since passage of the Town Meeting article won’t accomplish what people seem to think it will.
Eliminating caucuses won’t eliminate the local party committees or make them any less active. In fact, their members may want to work even harder to educate the voters about the candidates.
Eliminating caucuses won’t stop people from arguing about politics. People from towns without caucuses argue plenty because they, too, have construction projects, taxes and extremist rhetoric in their daily news. None of that is going to go away because we’ve eliminated caucuses one night a year.
Eliminating caucuses won’t make it any easier for unenrolled candidates to get on the ballot, and may make it more difficult. Unenrolled folks will lose the caucus option just like everyone else will.
And finally, eliminating caucuses won’t make it any less challenging to run a contested race for any candidate, unenrolled or not.
Hopkinton is one of the few towns lucky enough to have local caucuses that give us full, informative ballots. We should keep it that way.
Please vote “no” on Article 2.
— Amy Groves, Hopkinton
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