Current Boys State Posts

American Legion Boys State: Caucuses and the Election Process

To select candidates and elect officials for city, county, and state positions, caucuses are held by the participants of Boys State. When one of the boys run for a position, they are allowed a three-minute speech before the voting commences. Almost all of the participants enjoy this process because it gives them a chance to express their motivations and worth. Caucuses make for a nice break from the usual drills and excessive physical exhaustion, as well as an appreciation of each individual compared to the uniformity of drill instructions.

During city and county caucuses, I watched one of the boys take more than half of the county and city positions. I pondered about his involvement for a minute before approaching him for inquiry. He said that when he arrived, “people told him to apply for everything,” and so he tailored his speeches with personal information relevant to the position. I found that the more positions he established during the caucuses, his probability to gain even more would increase.

With the separation between the Federalist and Nationalist parties, boys took into account how that would impact their decisions during the city and county elections. To make the process easier, each county had to establish their own political views and ideas. My colleagues and I found it thoroughly gratifying to analyze the problems that New York State experiences and find ways that our own party could improve upon them. They didn’t end up quite as serious as the counselors had hoped, but they were decisively successful in principle. But each boy found problems with the caucuses, including inorganization and disruptions during the speeches. Having a predetermined site for every city and county caucus and a podium for the candidates would improve the quality of speeches as well as the order and form of referendum and might be worth considering.

During state caucuses however, electives from county party positions are nominated for their state party counterparts. Each county representative gets a chance to sway the crowd’s decision with a brief speech before votes are cast. The counties collect each vote before announcing them and moving on to the second round in the election. If a third round is necessary, such will suffice. There are many differences between state party conventions and county caucuses, namely the weight of voting strength and a stage and podium for speeches.

But although state party conventions are intended to elect based on individual merits and values, they are often influenced by the competition between counties. The elections take much longer than what is considered reasonable, so if time restraints for voting and speeches were taken more seriously, this might be less of an issue.

Whether it’s city, county, or state caucuses, they are an extremely important part of Boys State, and have presented themselves to be very enjoyable for all participants of the program. As the mayor of my own county earlier voiced, “It was nice to relax after all that marching.”

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