In some ways, participating in your local caucus is almost as important as voting in a national election. Caucusing allows the three major political parties — Democratic, Republican and Independent — to nominate the candidates and issues they will support in the 2008 elections. Each party only supports one candidate per open position, so it’s important for residents to let their parties know who they think that person should be.
Caucuses are not, however, as cut-and-dry as regular voting. Rather than showing up any time throughout the day, all participants must be at their party’s precinct at 7 p.m. tonight. To find your precinct location, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s caucus finder.
During the caucus, attendees will elect delegates to attend the party convention in the spring and summer and show support for particular candidates.
Everyone will also be invited to participate in an open forum in which major political issues are discussed. Participants can submit and vote on resolutions that might be addressed at party conventions.
The caucus is also used as a chance to elect precinct officers who help provide local leadership for that particular party.
Finally, many people attend caucuses to participate in a presidential straw poll, which also takes place during the meeting. Attendees will have a chance to cast their unofficial votes for president, and though the votes are theoretical, they are generally considered to be representative of how people will vote during the actual election. In some cases, candidates have dropped out due to a lack of support at the caucuses.
Anyone of legal voting age is able to participate in the causes. Residents should attend the caucus of the political party they are most likely to vote with in the real election.
After the caucuses are over, the delegates elected during the caucuses will go on to participate in their party’s convention, during which official party candidates will be chosen.