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Thousands of voters turned away at caucus sites

Posted: 5:04 PM, Mar 02, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-02 19:48:49-05

Long lines, no parking and thousands left without a vote.

That’s how many democratic caucus-goers experienced the presidential caucuses Tuesday night .

"I have heard people say -- and from what I witnessed, at least [in] a 10-block radius there was no parking," said Michelle Renee, who experienced her first ever caucus after recently moving to Colorado. “It was so dangerous, cars were going every which way, they didn't know where to go again. I thought I was going to run over somebody."

A day later, party leaders and state lawmakers are working to figure out a solution.  Lara Lee Hullinghorst is the chair of the Boulder County Democratic Party and believes the funding and space in Boulder County doesn’t allow for high-volume caucus events.

"We should have a primary. We have too many, particularly in urban areas on the front-range, for a caucus to be even remotely manageable for a party of our size," said Hullinghorst. 

That’s something that lawmakers like Rep. Alec Garnett, who’s a democrat representing District 2 in Denver is entertaining. Garnett was a co-sponsor of a bill that would have brought a primary to Colorado, but the bill failed.  Garnett said cost to the state is a big reason we don’t currently have a primary and haven’t since 2000.

"Conversations are already starting about what the best timing is for sitting down and figuring this out, but there's no doubt in my mind that by 2020 we will not be having a presidential caucus the way that we did last night," said Rep. Garnett.

Hullinghorst is pushing state lawmakers to introduce a late bill this session that would bring a primary to Colorado by 2020, but with the budget set in stone and a big fiscal note associated with any bill that may be written, she’s not confident in the effort.

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