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February 2012

Why attend my Precinct Caucus?

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This coming Tuesday, February 7, both the Republican and Democratic parties hold important neighborhood political meetings. In other words, it’s time to caucus. These grassroots gatherings offer attendees a chance to cast a straw poll to gauge candidate preferences for state or federal elected offices. Republicans this year will be splitting their votes among the four Presidential candidates still vying for their party’s nomination. Four years ago, at the DFL caucus, there were an avalanche of people showing up to cast their preference ballot for President Obama or Hillary Clinton. Since the President is unchallenged this year, you may think your attendance at a Democratic caucus is not as important. Choosing a candidate to represent the party is but one of the agenda items. Delegates, nominated and elected at the caucus, will move on to represent the party at County and legislative conventions, and if elected again…eventually moving on to Congressional, State and National conventions. These delegates play an important role in deciding which candidates at all levels of government will be on the ballot in November. If you’ve ever wished you had a better choice of pro-public education candidates on the November ballot you can see why delegates are so important. Caucuses provide a forum for citizens to engage their neighbors in a conversation on a wide range of public policy and political issues. In addition, caucuses also give voters a chance to discuss the party platform, propose resolutions, and action agenda items. These serve to help set the legislative and political agenda for our elected officials. Caucus attendees also elect officers who will be responsible for organizing political activities within the precinct.
You can choose to attend the party of your choice but must not be an active member of any other political party. You must attend your assigned caucus meeting in order to participate. In addition you must affirm that you live in the precinct, you will be 18 by November 6, 2012, and are eligible to vote. You can attend if you are 16 and still participate in caucus business but you are unable to vote or run as a delegate.
In general, Northfield Republicans will be meeting at Northfield High School and Northfield Democrats will be meeting at the Northfield Middle School. For specific locations, log on to the Secretary of State’s Caucus finder at: