I have been thinking about the activity of selecting presidential nominees by primaries and by caucuses.

In Maine, we used to have a caucus in each community and then send the votes to the party headquarters. In Gray, where I live, we were lucky to get 2 percent of registered party members to a Republican caucus. The actual turnout was usually about 1 percent, and I suspect that the turnout for the Democratic caucuses was similar.

More recently, we have been gathering several communities together for a caucus. I do not know the actual turnout, but I suspect it is still less than 5 percent of registered party members.

As a consequence of the caucus method, only the few active party members, perhaps less than 5 percent of all registered party members, choose the nominees. This is about the same level of citizen participation as “backroom deals.”

I suspect caucuses are used because they are much less costly than an actual statewide primary vote. Saving money, however, seems to me to be a poor reason for not using a primary system to choose nominees.

David W. Knudsen