Yepsen calls on reforming caucuses

MyDD’s desmoinesdem points to this David Yepsen piece about reforming the Iowa caucus system. Yepsen notes, following Marc Ambinder, that both parties have created commissions to revisit the caucus process. Yepsen says:

It’s one thing to tell critics to buzz off or to outmaneuver them during internal party skirmishes. It’s another, more public-minded thing to say, "You know, you’ve got a point, and here’s what we’ve done to address your concerns." […]

So, while the 2012 election seems eons away, the procedural fights leading up to it aren’t. Iowa’s political leaders will need to move quickly after the election to discuss the changes they want to make to their processes to protect the caucuses while making them better. (It’s also wise to discuss these changes now, while institutional memories are fresh and before new leaders and staffers are in place in three years, when the cycle begins again.)

Yepsen recommends a series of changes including running the caucuses with county auditors, using secret ballots (already done by Republicans), allowing absentee ballots, picking a better day, dis-allowing same-day registration, and setting national standards.

I should point out that at the RNC’s Convention Rules Committee, a coalition of military groups fought to add language supporting a guaranteed right to vote for active duty military in all presidential nominating contests. While the langauge was gutted by the party establishment, the final language in the RNC rules is now:

Any process authorized or implemented by a state Republican Party for selecting delegates or alternate delegates or for binding teh presidential preference of such delegates may use every means practicable in the sole discretion of the state Republican Party, to encourage active military personnel the opportuntiy to exercise their right to vote.

This passes the buck to state Republican Parties who may yet decide to do the right thing and guarantee our servicemen and women the right to vote. Now with Yepsen on the side of this right (and the rights for others), there is a good chance that the caucus system may shift before the next election. And if Iowa moves, so move the rest of them.