Below are some frequently asked questions about the Caucus process.
Where is my Caucus?
What is a Precinct Caucus?
In Minnesota, political decision-making begins at the caucus level. A caucus is simply a gathering of people interested in exercising their rights in the American political process. This is the first opportunity for you to affect the process by supporting potential candidates and discussing platform issues.
How is a Primary different from a Precinct Caucus?
Most states will narrow the field of candidates with a Primary. Voters cast a ballot, without discussion prior to voting. Caucusing allows you to cast a vote for your candidate, but discussion and presentations can occur before ballots are cast.
Who can attend a Precinct Caucus?
Anyone that is a United States citizen and eligible to vote in the November 2012 election is invited to participate in the caucus. This is grassroots politics in action.
Who can vote in a Precinct Caucus?
Each precinct is allotted a pre-determined amount of delegates and alternates. In the event that a delegate cannot attend a convention or cast a vote, an alternate may be seated. Alternates are called upon in order of their election ranking. To become a delegate, you submit your name and all those in attendance vote to elect delegate. In turn, delegates advance to the SD60 Convention. Delegate terms are for two years. All caucus attendees will be able to vote in the Presidential Preference Poll.
Why attend a Precinct Caucus?
The importance of attending these caucuses cannot be overstated. Our success in November hinges on our ability to organize, mobilize, and activate volunteers throughout our Senate District and Minnesota. Local caucuses are the first step in this process. If you don’t participate, you are letting someone else decide for you. In the 2012 Precinct Caucus, delegates will have a chance to cast a vote for the candidate they support for President. During the Precinct Caucus, resolutions may also be submitted, discussed and voted on for further consideration. Resolutions are desired changes or amendments to the current Republican Platform. After a resolution is submitted, the merits are discussed, and Caucus attendees vote on it. If the resolution is passed, the platform committee at the Senate District convention considers it. People often ask how the Republican Platform is created. It all starts at the Precinct Caucus.
When is the 2012 Precinct Caucus?
Tuesday, February 7th. Registration starts at 6:30 PM, the meeting begins promptly at 7:00. You should already be registered and in place by 7:00, so be sure to arrive early.
What happens at the Precinct Caucus?
• When you arrive, local volunteers will help you register and answer questions. There is no charge to attend the Precinct Caucus.
• The precinct meeting will be called to order at 7:00 PM sharp. Robert’s Rules of Order for Parliamentary Procedure are used throughout. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with procedure. The meeting leader (called a convener) will conduct the caucus according to Minnesota law.
• All caucus attendees will be able to vote in the Presidential Preference Poll.
• Caucus attendees will vote on officers for the Caucus and Precinct Leaders.
• Letters may be read from elected officials, those seeking election, or party representatives. In some cases, you may also hear from a candidate in person.
• Delegates will be elected from the Caucus attendees. Anyone who is present may submit his name to run for a delegate slot.
• Once the delegates are determined, they will vote on resolutions.
What if I work or have school that evening?
Minnesota Statutes section 202A.19 permits you to take time off from work (without pay) to attend your caucus if you give your employer written notice at least 10 days in advance. State universities, community colleges, and public schools cannot hold classes or events after 6 PM on the evening of precinct caucuses. State agencies, school boards, county boards, township boards, city councils, and all other political subdivisions cannot conduct meetings after 6 PM on caucus night.
What if I have a disability?
Most caucuses are held in accessible buildings. Individuals who plan to attend party caucuses may request an interpreter if needed. Requests must be submitted by certified mail to the party’s county or legislative district committee at least 30 days before the date of the caucus. Individuals who require audio, braille, or large print materials may request all official caucus materials to be sent as soon as available so that they may be converted. Contact the Republican party’s state office for more details.