Seven easy steps to Caucusing, including preparation
Participation is the key to a successful democracy. Caucusing is more time consuming than plain old primaries (usually) but it will probably be under two hours.
Here’s an explanation of the Minnesota Caucus process, in seven easy steps. Caucuses give us the chance to influence a party’s platform – for either major party (Democrat or Republican) the process is pretty much the same, but if you want to caucus with the Greens party or the Independence party their procedures may vary.
Caucuses are run by volunteers, using the common Robert’s Rules of Order and adopting any other rules needed for the process. It is typical that you will be given a chance to donate at least once, if not more, but again, this is a voluntary exercise.
What you need to know and do
- Find your “house district” and precinct name/number, as well as the specific location for your February 6, 2018 caucus by following this link to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website: http://caucusfinder.sos.state.mn.us/
- Show up! Honestly, this is the most important thing. Visit with your neighbors before and after you sign in at 6:30 p.m.
- The caucus should convene promptly at 7 p.m., and as things begin, don’t be shy about asking questions – everybody is a volunteer and, often, half the people in any given precinct are there for the first time.
- There will be somebody who convenes the meeting in your precinct, and the first order of business is to elect somebody to run the caucus – it may or may not be the convener. Then there will usually be some precinct organizing done, such as electing a “precinct chair” who will be active for the coming two-year cycle (or longer.) This is also the time and place to submit resolution to influence your party’s official platform – the most powerful part of caucuses (see below).
- Elect delegates – the number varies, but they will represent your precinct at the conventions that follow, from the Senate District level right up to the National.
- There are often straw polls or preference ballots. Note: if you’re in a hurry, you may typically vote early in those polls and then leave, depending on the rules.
- Adjourn. If you’ve stayed to the end it’s a formal step, but you can always leave whenever you need to because the entire process is voluntary.
Creating a Resolution
They often start with “Whereas…”
“Whereas” is a way to introduce a reason, or a series of reasons, supporting the action item. They’re a form of persuasion, or logical argument; the whereas parts let somebody make the case.
You fill in the form and present it to your precinct caucus chair (or some other volunteer) the particular rules and procedures for adopting them will be made clear by your caucus chairperson, but you can start filling out the form at any time.
CLICK HERE TO FIND SAMPLE RESOLUTIONS FOR ENDING POLITICAL HOMELESSNESS (2016)
CLICK HERE TO FIND THREE “WHEREAS” RESOLUTIONS SAMPLES (2014)
We have strength in numbers! Help urge other Catholics to caucus in the following ways:
- Share this page with them.
- Start conversations at your local parish! People are more likely to caucus if they get a nudge to do so or have a group to go with.