Monday, December 12, 2011

What happens at a caucus?

Do you wonder what happens at a precinct caucus? It's more than just a vote. Essentially there are four main purposes:

1. Conducting the Presidential preference vote

One of the first orders of business after electing a chairperson and secretary is the Presidential preference vote. All delegates receive a ballot on which they mark their preferred candidate. Once all have voted, members of each precinct tally the votes. The results are announced and then relayed to the county and state parties to be combined with other precincts across the state.

2. Nomination and election of precinct representatives to the county central committee

Each precinct then nominates and elects two individuals to serve as representatives to the county central committee who voice the concerns of their neighbors to the local party. They also conduct official business for the county party in conjunction with other precinct representatives. Any individual can serve in this role from the precinct. The term is for two years and most central committees meet once a month. If you're interested be sure to volunteer during this portion of the caucus.

3. Nomination and election of delegates and alternates to the county convention

Each precinct also receives a predetermined number of seats to be filled at the March county convention by interested individuals. These people then meet with similar individuals from across the county to conduct a process similar to the precinct caucus at the county convention. Alternates are also chosen in case people initially chosen as delegates cannot attend. Those chosen to be delegates or alternates to the county convention will be those who are eligible to serve as county representatives to the congressional district and state party conventions. Again be sure to volunteer if interested.

4. Formation of party platform concepts

The last item is to begin submitting ideas for the party platform. The platform is the statement of beliefs for the political party. Is there something you believe the party should oppose or support? This portion of the caucus allows you to speak up and gain support from fellow citizens. Ideas generated at your precinct caucus are forwarded to the county party for debate and possible inclusion in the county's party platform, which is debated and adopted at the county convention.

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