We believe it's a citizen's duty to cast an informed vote. Having as many voices as possible heard in the selection of our political leaders should increase the likelihood wise selections are being made.
We see voting as critical to every level of government -- whether picking members of the Walla Walla City Council or the president of the United States.
This year the state Legislature has canceled the usual statewide presidential primary because it was very expensive -- $10 million -- and the two major political parties refused to accept the results in determining which candidate would get Washington's support in the selection of the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees.
We believe the Legislature made a prudent move.
So where does that leave voters?
Well, registered voters who consider themselves Republicans have a very good option. They can have their voices heard by attending the Walla Walla County Republican caucuses on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Fairgrounds.
While we would urge those who feel strongly about the issues facing our nation and state to attend, we also want to make it clear that attending a caucuses is not at all like casting a ballot. The first difference is you must declare yourself a Republican.
You will have an opportunity to support one of the GOP contenders for president, but that occurs by electing delegates who will eventually support those candidates at the state convention.
County Republican Central Committee Chairman Jim Johnson explained the process in a recent column on the U-B Perspective page. Johnson wrote:
First, attendees will participate in a straw poll. This will "take the temperature" for who they think they will support for the nomination.
Second, they will actually elect delegates from each precinct to the county convention that takes place on April 21 at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center. The number of delegates from each precinct is proportionate to the number of registered voters in each precinct who voted Republican in the last general election. Those delegates, chosen from the population of each precinct, will declare which candidate they are likely to support. At this stage, however, they are not bound to support that candidate. ...
From the county convention, 16 delegates will be elected to accompany three automatic delegates from the local party Central Committee to the state convention.
The third thing that will take place is discussion of the local party platform. Attendees will have an opportunity to weigh in on issues and resolutions that are important to them.
Again, this exercise of free political speech isn't necessarily for everybody, but for those who follow the issues and enjoy debate, it could be a great way to spend a Saturday.
Those who consider themselves Democrats will have an opportunity to discuss and debate issues on April 15 at that party's Walla Walla County caucuses.