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The first step in representative democracy is getting citizens to participate. So it is baffling why the Washington Democratic Party persists in using caucuses to assign delegate counts for presidential conventions [“State takes it turn at selecting a Democrat,” Page One, March 20]. In 2008, a year of near-record turnout for presidential primaries (still only a disappointing 30 percent nationwide), more than 20 times as many Democrats voted in the Washington presidential primary, which assigned no delegates, than in the Democratic caucuses.

I have attended caucuses since 1984 and welcome the opportunity to talk to neighbors and weigh in on policies. But as a method of encouraging voter participation and giving party members a voice, caucuses are a complete disaster. It’s embarrassing that Washington Republicans are actually more progressive on this issue.

Democrats attending caucuses on Saturday must let their leaders know how antiquated and unacceptable this system is if they expect the policies of the Washington Democratic Party to catch up to the 21st century. Nationally we work hard to prevent laws that disenfranchise voters. Let’s do the same within our own state party.

Paul Talbert, Seattle

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