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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Is Tonight Your Night?


If you are registered as a Democrat (or unaffiliated) - tonight is your night!  And if this doesn't apply to you tonight - then it will apply to you Republicans on Thursday night.  If you have not been hearing about political caucuses and how they work, let me give you a quick overview. 

In Utah, candidates that appear on the ballot were selected by party delegates.  Delegates are chosen at neighborhood caucus meetings.  Groups of neighbors get together and select from amongst themselves people to represent them in the selecting of candidates.  Here is what to expect tonight (or on Thursday) when you arrive:

You generally meet as a large group together, the pledge is recited and the party platform is read. 

Following brief instructions you will proceed to a smaller room or area where you will meet as a precinct.  Precincts are small geographical areas, think your neighborhood, your precinct appears on your voter registration card.

In your precinct you will elect party officials (precinct chairs, etc) and county and state delegates.  If you would like to be a delegate, have someone nominate you.  If you are nominated you will be expected to give a short explanation on why you would be a good representative for your neighborhood.  Following the nominations, there will be a secret ballot vote.  County delegates will represent the neighborhood at the county conventions.  Any seat residing completely in a county will be decided at a county convention, for example Utah House of Representative seats, Utah Senate seats, County Mayors (if the elections are partisan), County Commissioners, County Sheriffs, etc. The county delegates will determine, by vote, who will appear on the ballot for their party.  State delegates will attend the state party conventions and determine who will be on the ballot for their party in statewide elections - Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Congressmen, etc.

After your group or precinct has determined your party officials and your delegates you go home,  feeling happy to have done your civic duty and having had the opportunity to spend time with your neighbors.  Plan on longer than an hour, but less than two.

To learn where caucuses will be held, visit the respective parties' websites:

Republicans
Democrats

If you are unaffiliated voter, you are welcome to attend either caucus, BUT at the Democratic Caucus you are able to participate, while at the Republican Caucus you may simply observe.  If you wish you were a member of a party, but are currently an unaffiliated voter, attend the caucus of the party you wish to belong to and they will provide you with the forms to change your affiliation.

Happy Caucusing!

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