Nebraska Democrats making history

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nebraska voters have a chance to make history in a couple of weeks.

Nebraska voters who are registered Democrats, that is.

That's because for the first time, each Nebraska county will have a caucus to determine voters' preferences for president on Saturday, Feb. 9.

That's far ahead of Nebraska's primary election, set for May 13.

So far, in fact, that it may actually affect the outcome of the race for the presidential nominations for the party.

"In February, Nebraska has an opportunity that has not been presented to us in a long time," Matt Connealy, executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Pary wrote in a letter to the editor.

"We have the opportunity to say who the next presidential nominee will be. Ultimately, this decision will set the course for a new Democratic President of the United States," he said, optimistically.

He urged Democrats to go to nebraskadem ocrats.org or call (800) 677-7068 to find out where their local, first time Presidential Caucus will be held.

Details for many caucuses are still being worked out, but the ones we know about include:

Red Willow County, 2 p.m. CST in the commissioners room on the third floor of the courthouse.

Chase County, 5 p.m. MST in the Champion Community Center (the former Champion school building).

Dundy County, 1 p.m. MST in the Dundy County Courthouse jury room in Benkelman.

Hayes County, 1:15 p.m. CST at the Bull's Cafe in Hayes Cener.

Perkins County, 1 p.m. MST at the Madrid Community Hall in Madrid.

Hitchcock County volunteers hope to have caucuses in Palisade, Stratton, Trenton and Culbertson, and we have been unable to find out about Frontier County caucuses.

We hope the novelty increases interest and participation, although anything that involves turning out for a specific meeting at a specific time would seem to hurt attendance.

But it wouldn't take much to improve Red Willow County's turnout, which ran at less than a third of eligible voters for our last election.

It should be an interesting process to observe, even if one isn't a member of the Democratic Party.

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