Minnesota’s major political parties are holding precinct caucuses on Tuesday February 4th, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. A precinct caucus is a generally small gathering of your close neighbors to exercise your rights in the American political process. Caucuses are the very first step in a party’s political process. Caucuses are where delegates to your party are first elected from each precinct. This is your first opportunity during the election cycle to recommend changes to your party’s platform, hear from local candidates, and choose delegates to represent you at subsequent party conventions.
Precinct caucuses are also where the grassroots of a political party state their preference for the party’s nominee for governor, senator or president in what’s called a “straw poll.” Straw polls are not binding on the convention delegates in Minnesota, but the results carry weight in the nomination process and are a strong indicator of the state party’s disposition toward a particular candidate.
Ultimately, the delegates selected at caucuses will filter up through the convention process and officially choose the party’s endorsed candidates. Precinct caucuses determine the makeup of a political party for the next two years. Caucus conveners and other local party officials are volunteers. Like you, they care deeply about the direction and future of our state and our country. While some attendees may be experienced caucus veterans, many others will be new to the process.
Precinct caucuses, to many, may seem like mysterious political voodoo, but they’re actually quite simple and easy to participate in. In essence, they are a small, relatively informal gathering of neighbors who participate in a grassroots, democratic and open process to elect neighborhood representatives to the party and determine the desired priorities of the party for a two-year election cycle.
It’s easy and only takes a couple hours.
If you ever wanted to get involved in a political party and didn’t know how, this is your doorway, but it only happens every two years. Don’t miss it!
Who Can Participate?
Individuals who are eligible to vote at the time of the next general election may participate in caucus meetings. You must choose which party’s caucus meeting you wish to attend (you cannot attend more than one). You must generally be in agreement with the principles of the party as stated in the party’s constitution and affirm that you intend to vote for some candidates endorsed by that party.
Where Do I Go?
The caucus meetings in your local area may be held in schools, churches, libraries, other public buildings and sometimes in a neighbor’s home. The locations of your party’s local caucus meeting can be found by clicking on one of the links below (note that some minor parties may conduct caucuses entirely online or by other means – see websites for details):
Constitution Party: http://www.cpmn.org/
Green Party: http://www.mngreens.org/
Independence Party: Caucuses
Libertarian Party: http://www.lpmn.org/
Republican Party: Caucuses
Also see the secretary of state’s caucus site for more information, more parties and a handy caucus finder.
How Can I Prepare?
Caucuses are generally very informal and accessible, but are technically governed by Robert’s Rules of Order. Your caucus convener will help guide this process and answer questions along the way, but if you want to learn more about Robert’s Rules, see here for a quick reference: http://www.RobertsRules.org
Fulfill Our Civic Duty
Our Founding Fathers had the wisdom of establishing a government “of the People, by the People and for the People”. While we may, at times, become frustrated by politics, we have no right to complain unless we are involved in trying to improve the situation. Each of us has the right and the responsibility to be involved in the political process in an effort to preserve freedom and liberty for future generations of Americans. Please take the time to attend your local caucus meeting on Tuesday, February 4th.