The caucuses are coming! The caucuses are coming! On Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 the Colorado democratic caucuses will be held throughout the state. You may ask yourself, what is a caucus? As a long-time democratic precinct chair, in El Paso County, I will give you my perspective:
What is a Caucus?
- A grassroots, bottom-up way to select candidates and set the direction for the party.
- A party meeting to nominate candidates or, more accurately, select delegates to the County Assembly to nominate candidates.
- A meeting to discuss matters of party policy, including the party platform which is a set of resolutions defining the party’s stand on a broad set of issues.
Note: A caucus is not a primary. If you have never attended a caucus and you have attended a primary you will find them to be quite different. Caucuses last for two hours during which you vote and discuss in public with your fellow caucus go-ers. Primaries last all day and you go and vote privately in a booth some time during the day.
Who can go to the Caucus?
Anyone who has been a registered democrat for at least two months. The deadline for the 2010 Caucus was January 19th, 2010. You can check your party affiliation and registration date on-line at the Colorado Secretary of State Elections Center (http://www.sos.state.co.us/Voter). If you prefer, you can call the County Clerk and Recorder’s office at 719-520-6202 or 719-520-6216 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Why should I go to the Caucus?
- To participate in democracy.
- To have your voice heard.
- To do your civic duty.
- To make sure your candidate has a shot at the nomination.
- To propose a resolution on key political issues (e.g. jobs, economy, health care, war, diversity, campaign finance reform, etc.)
- To feed your fix, if you are a political junkie.
- Best of all: To meet fellow Democrats (yes, you can!)
When is the Caucus?
Usually the 3rd Tuesday in March. In 2010, it will be Tuesday, March 16th from 7pm to 9pm
Where is the Caucus?
It depends on your precinct. The Caucus location is often at a local school but can be in other locations including someone’s home. To find out where your caucus is, contact your precinct chair. If you know have or don’t know your precinct chair, go to http://www.peakdems.org. If you don’t know what precinct you are in go to http://www.sos.state.co.us/Voter (use only the last 3 digits) or call the County Clerk and Recorder’s office at 719-520-6202 or 719-520-6216 or email email@example.com
Who else will be there?
Other registered democrats from your precinct. Actually, a given caucus location will serve multiple precincts so any registered democrat from any of the precincts at the caucus location. You will get together with (caucus with) the people from your precinct only. There may be signs with the precinct number or you may just need to ask around to see who is in your precinct. There will be an overall location manager who will guide all the precincts to get started and answer any questions.
What happens at a Caucus?
Several things happen including the following:
- Start the caucus
- Vote for viable candidates in the case of a contested election
- Name delegates and alternates to represent candidates at the County Assembly
- Elect a precinct chair for the next two years
- Volunteer to be an election judge in the next election
- Propose and discuss resolutions
- Turn in the paperwork to the location manager
How long does it take?
It depends on how many people show up, how many candidates are running in contested elections and how many resolutions you want to propose or discuss. The maximum time is two hours, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. If you want to support a candidate you should be there at 7:00 as the selection of delegates to the nominating convention happens first. Once that is done, you may stay to propose and discuss resolutions, if you like. We could be done earlier but we must be done by 9:00pm sharp as we only have the site until that time.