Voting for next presidential election to look different for Missouri Republicans

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 9:43 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Voting for 2024 presidential picks is going to look differently for Missouri Republicans.

Republicans will have to attend caucuses after the GOP-led legislatures canceled its presidential primary and then missed a deadline to reinstate it.

“I’m envisioning voters out there, seeing the headline, ‘Missouri cancels primary,’ and they’re panicking thinking they’re not going to get a chance to vote,” said UMKC political science professor Greg Vonnahme.

Vonnahme said that’s not the case; just how they do it will change.

“There’s a certain day, a certain time when everyone has to meet together at a certain place, and it’ll run like a normal party meeting, and they’ll talk issues, priorities, and then they’ll select a presidential candidate to the next level,” Vonnahme said.

Instead of voting in a Tuesday primary at traditional polling places, people wanting to participate in the caucuses will need to attend a Saturday meeting of local Republicans.

The vast majority of states use primary elections to allocate party delegates to presidential candidates. Iowa, which is traditionally one of the first states to pick presidential candidates, is perhaps the most prominent to use a caucus system.

READ MORE: Missouri shifts to Republican presidential caucuses after lawmakers cancel primaries

While some states shift away from presidential primaries, Kansas is moving toward them. A state law enacted this year sets a March 19 election for presidential primaries. In 2020, the state left it to political parties to decide what to do. Democrats funded and ran their own primary by mail ballot while Republican leaders committed to supporting Donald Trump, then the president, without a vote or any caucuses.

Vonnahme said there are a number of reasons behind switching to a caucus, one being it’s cheaper.

“It’s less expensive,” Vonnahme said. “So, a primary election is a responsibility of the state. State and local governments have to pay for it; they fund it and operate it. If they switch to a caucus, a caucus is a party function, so the Republican and Democratic parties will then run their own selection process. They will decide how to do it, how people will vote, and when they do it. They will also be responsible for paying for it. It alleviates some of the fiscal and administrative cost on state and local officials.”

Presidential caucuses in Missouri are set for March 2; that’s the Saturday before Super Tuesday and ten days earlier than the primary was scheduled.