Precinct Caucuses are Feb. 4

Voters will choose delegates, discuss resolutions and take a straw poll

By Seth Rowe

Sun Sailor Newspapers

Voters who would like an opportunity to shape political parties at a grassroots level may do so during upcoming precinct caucuses.

While the caucuses receive less attention during nonpresidential election years, participants may still become involved in shaping the platforms of parties or seek election to party positions.

A straw poll for the governor’s race this year will take place. Mark Dayton, a DFLer, is the incumbent in the governor’s race. U.S. Sen. Al Franken will also run for re-election.

The straw poll is not binding on the parties but provides an snapshot of who the party base supports in selected statewide races. The party will endorse candidates at a later convention.

Voters who attend the caucuses will elect precinct officers during the event. These officers will coordinate political meetings, assist with campaign efforts and otherwise lead local party business.

Caucus attendees will also elect delegates to political conventions. The delegates will attend either district or county conventions, where they will then in turn elect delegates from within their ranks to congressional and state conventions. Those delegates will then endorse candidates for offices like governor or Congress.

Much of the time at precinct caucuses is devoted to voting on proposed resolutions. Attendees may ask that fellow voters at the caucuses support their ideas or goals. Resolutions that gain majority support at the caucuses are raised at future conventions for potential inclusion into the party’s platform.

All Minnesota parties with major party status must hold caucuses during statewide election years, including 2014. Parties with minor party status are not required to conduct caucuses but may do so if their organizers wish.

Participants must be eligible to vote in this year’s Nov. 4 general election. They must live in the precinct of the caucus and “be in general agreement with the principles of the political party,” according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website. Unlike some states, Minnesota does not have an official party registration process.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, or DFL, Republican Party and Independence Party all have major party status in Minnesota. Caucuses for all three parties are 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4. Locations for all major party caucuses are available through a search at caucusfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

The Independence Party also offers a live, online caucus beginning at the same time. Interested people who are busy Feb. 4 may participate in the online caucus through Tuesday, Feb. 18. Visit mnip.org for more information.

Here are some of the major party caucuses in this area:

• For Delano, Republican caucus is at Delano Middle School, and DFL caucus is at Delano High School, Independence Party caucus is online. For information, visit the website at www.mnip.org/get-involved/caucuses/live-online-caucus starting at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 4.

• For Rockford, Republican caucus is at Rockford Community Center, 7600 County Road 50. DFL caucus is at Rockford City Hall, 6031 Main Street. Independence Party caucus is online. For information, visit the website at www.mnip.org/get-involved/caucuses/live-online-caucus starting at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 4.

• For Greenfield, Republican caucus is at Old Town Hall, 6390 Town Hall Dr. DFL caucus is at Orono Middle School, 800 Old Crystal Bay Road, Long Lake. Independence Party caucus is at Hilltop Primary School cafeteria, 5700 Game Farm Road E., Minnetrista.

• For Independence, Republican caucus is at Independence City Center, 1920 County Road 90.. DFL caucus is at Orono Middle School, 800 Old Crystal Bay Road, Long Lake. Independence Party caucus is at Hilltop Primary School cafeteria, 5700 Game Farm Road E., Minnetrista.

• For Loretto, Republican caucus is at Orono High School, 795 North Old Crystal Bay Road, Orono. DFL caucus is at Orono Middle School, 800 Old Crystal Bay Road, Long Lake. Independence Party caucus is at Hilltop Primary School cafeteria, 5700 Game Farm Road E. Minnetrista.

• For Medina in the Maple Plain zip code, Republican caucus is at Orono High School, 795 North Old Crystal Bay Road, Orono. DFL caucus is at Orono Middle School, 800 Old Crystal Bay Road, Long Lake. Independence Party caucus is at Hilltop Primary School cafeteria, 5700 Game Farm Road E. Minnetrista. For Medina in the Hamel zip code, Republican caucus is at Hamel Community Building, 3200 Mill Dr. DFL caucus is at Orono Middle School, 800 Old Crystal Bay Road, Long Lake. Independence Party caucus is at Hilltop Primary School cafeteria, 5700 Game Farm Road E. Minnetrista.

Minor parties listed on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website are the Libertarian Party and the Grassroots Party.

The Libertarian Party plans “caucus-style” events  in each state congressional district Feb. 3-8. Election of officers, petition training and candidate recruitment is planned. The Third Congressional District event is scheduled 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, at Grizzly’s, 220 Carlson Parkway N. in Plymouth. The Fifth Congressional District event is 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, at Legends Bar and Grill, 825 E. Hennepin Ave. in Minneapolis.

The Green Party of Minnesota, although a major party in the past, is not listed on the Secretary of State’s website. Its own website contains information about 2013 events like the State Fair but does not contain any indication of any upcoming activities.

The Minnesota Grassroots Party, which lists a goal of repealing marijuana prohibition on its website, includes information about 2012 candidates but does not list any current information or events.

Contact Seth Rowe at seth.rowe@ecm-inc.com. Susan Van Cleaf contributed to this report. susan.vancleaf@ecm-inc.com

 

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