DFL caucus turnout lower than expected

by Megan Boldt

By changing the Democratic caucuses from midweek to a weekend, DFL officials hoped to attract younger voters. But that was not the case Saturday morning at Van Cleve Community Center, near the University’s East Bank campus.
About 20 people attended their precinct meeting at the community center, which serves the Dinkytown and Como areas. Only a handful belonged to the 20-something vote the DFL Party hoped to attract.
“This year, the turnout was quite a bit lower among younger people,” said Katie Founier, DFL-precinct leader at the community center.
Vice President Al Gore received 74 percent of the vote, while former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley took 12 percent. Bradley officially dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination Thursday.
An estimated 15,000 voters turned out for the caucuses, which were held Saturday and Sunday. This number was slightly lower than expected, said Karen Louise Boothe, DFL-communications director.
Founier said the overall attendance was better than two years ago but not what it used to be in the 1970s.
Debate was still lively among attendees at the community center. Some were concerned about the lack of teaching programs in public universities. They also created a resolution to send to the state convention urging legislators to oppose Gov. Jesse Ventura’s proposal of a unicameral Legislature.
Boothe said there definitely was confusion with the day change for the caucuses, but change never comes easy. The change was made in response to what voters said they wanted, she added.
“We will take a look at the process and see what worked and what didn’t work,” Boothe said.

Megan Boldt covers government and welcomes comments at mboldt@daily.umn.edu. She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3212.