Today are the Iowa caucuses, the nation’s first 2012 presidential primary. Would such a primary system work in Illinois?
Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Illinois Springfield, says it wouldn’t. Illinois’ state laws don’t allow the type of grassroots, party atmosphere many caucus sites exhibit.
“People make speeches, they do lobbying,” he says. “If you go to an Illinois polling place on primary day, and somebody at the polling place was lobbying you or making a speech for one of the candidates, that person would be arrested. You can’t do electioneering within so many feet of the voting booth.”
Redfield says the unpredictability of caucuses would make it more difficult for party establishments to control the election.