Precinct caucus tips and trivia

Precinct caucus 2008

Photo by Chris Gallevo, Democratic-Farmers-Labor Party. Precinct W-6 P-4. St. Stephens School. Minneapolis, MN. February 5, 2008.. Creative Commons license.

[UPDATED 2/24/2016] Precinct caucuses are next week – TUESDAY, MARCH 1. That’s Super Tuesday, because of caucuses and primaries happening across the country. In Minnesota, if you want to a party’s presidential nominee, you go to the caucus. This article is a quick guide to DFL precinct caucuses. For others, check websites for the Republican Party, the Independence Party, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party.

PC TRIVIA QUIZ
1) Why is March 1 called Super Tuesday?
a) Because Minnesotans are Super!
b) Because March 1 has both primaries and caucuses.
c) Because it’s the day with the most primaries and caucuses of the whole election season.
d) Because Super Tuesday will decide who the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees are.

When and where to find your precinct caucus

Here’s a web page to find your DFL caucus by entering your address. Caucus registration starts at 6:30 p.m., with the official start at 7 p.m.

Who can participate

To participate in a caucus, you need to:

  • live in the precinct
  • be 18 years old BY ELECTION DAY, November 8
  • be eligible to vote (citizenship)
  • be in general agreement with the principles of the DFL party.

PC TRIVIA QUIZ
2) How do I register as a Democrat?
a) You don’t – in Minnesota, the party is called Democratic-Farmer-Labor.
b) You can register as a Democrat on caucus night
c) There is no party registration in Minnesota, so you don’t register as anything.

How to vote for a presidential nominee

You can sign in and vote for a presidential nominee between 6:30 and 8 p.m., but the caucus itself will run much longer than that.

Who gets to be a delegate? 

Precinct caucuses select delegates to the next level of DFL conventions. The four levels are:

  • precinct caucus (held across the state on March 1)
  • organizing unit conventions (county convention or legislative district convention, held some time between March 12 and April 17 – endorse legislative candidates, choose delegates to Congressional district conventions)
  • Congressional district conventions (held some time between April 30 and May 29, endorse Congressional candidates, choose delegates to state and national conventions)
  • State convention (held on June 4 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis)

And then there’s the Democratic National Convention (DNC) – in Philadelphia July 25th-28th.

PC TRIVIA QUIZ
3) What are my chances of becoming a delegate or alternate?
a) Not good – you need to be well-known in your precinct, and have a long record of involvement in party politics.
b) Depends — it’s usually pretty easy to become a delegate to the next level (organizing unit convention), but if you’re aiming for the Democratic National Convention, think again.
c) If you want to be a delegate to the next level (organizing unit convention), your chances are good to excellent, as there are rarely enough people to fill the slots.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 10.45.25 AM

Delegate listing from The Green Papers

The DFL has a 36-page delegate selection plan (pdf). Short story: delegate selection starts at the precinct caucus. Delegates to the national convention will represent the votes for presidential nominees cast at precinct caucuses. While there are a lot of complicated details, this basically means that if Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton each get 40 percent of the presidential preference votes, and 20 percent are uncommitted, they will each get 40 percent of Minnesota’s delegates to the national convention. Fifty of those delegates are chosen at Congressional District conventions and 27 at the state convention.

Apart from the 16 Minnesota super-delegates, of course. Those include seven DNC members living in Minnesota, two DFL Senators and five DFL Congressmembers, Governor Mark Dayton, and Vice President Walter Mondale. That makes a total of 93 Minnesota delegates.

PC  TRIVIA QUIZ
4) How many Democratic National Convention delegates are there, from all over the country?
a) 1,789
b) 4,763
c) 5,280

What’s a resolution?

Resolutions are the first building block in creating a party platform. Want to advocate for reparations? For an end to private prisons? For a $15 minimum wage? For comprehensive immigration reform? You can submit a resolution. Here’s the form to use (pdf). Fill it out and take it to the caucus. Take extra copies to give to people so they can see what your resolution is, or to give to people from other precincts, when there are multiple precincts meeting in the same building. Take along a couple of blank forms for any ideas you come up with at the caucus – or for other people who have ideas, but no forms.

At the caucus, people read their resolutions, sometimes debate them, and finally vote. If a resolution gets 60 percent of the vote, it goes on to the next convention level.

PC  TRIVIA QUIZ

5) What does DFL stand for?

6) Why does Minnesota have a DFL party instead of a Democratic party?

For more information:

ANSWERS TO PRECINCT CAUCUS TRIVA QUIZ

#1) Why is March 1 called Super Tuesday? (c)
Super Tuesday has the most primaries and caucuses — 11 states plus American Samoa Territory for Democrats and 14 states for Republicans. (Click here and scroll down for list.)

2) How do I register as a Democrat? (c)
You do NOT need to be a “registered Democrat” to participate in a caucus. There’s no such thing as party registration in Minnesota.

3) What are my chances of becoming a delegate or alternate?
In a high-interest election year, like this one, more people want to become delegates. In my experience, if you want to be a delegate or alternate to the next level (organizing unit convention), your chances are good to excellent, as there are rarely enough people to fill the slots. It helps to know other people in the precinct, and it helps to sound intelligent when you ask people to support you.

4) How many Democratic National Convention delegates are there, from all over the country? (b) 4,763

5) What does DFL stand for? Democratic-Farmer-Labor. (Bonus, in case you were wondering: GOP stands for Grand Old Party, which is a national designation and sounds particularly ironic this year. From 1975-1995, Minnesota’s Republicans called themselves Independent Republicans, or IRs.)

6) Why does Minnesota have a DFL party instead of a Democratic party? Minnesota’s Farmer-Labor Party, which began in the 1920s, advocated for progressive agrarian reform, the protection of farmers and union workers, the public ownership of railroads, utilities, and natural resources, and social security legislation. In 1944, the Farmer-Labor party merged with Minnesota’s Democratic Party to become the DFL.

[Updated 2/24/2016 to clarify the levels of DFL caucus/conventions.]

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s