by Natalie Jacobs
There has been a lot of buzz about caucuses in the news lately, and we all know they are used to endorse a presidential candidate, but how can you use a caucus to support issues you care about locally? Here is a brief overview of what a caucus is and how you can participate in yours!
Minnesota precinct caucuses, all parties and precincts, are held March 1st at 7pm sharp. You can find your precinct caucus here on the Secretary of State Caucus Finder. A precinct caucus is a great way to participate in democracy at a grassroots level by building and exercising the power of your voice and the voice of your community. Caucus may sound like a scary word but it is basically a group of your neighbors with shared concerns within your political party, so have no fear! Caucuses are used to endorse candidates for public office, hold a Presidential preference ballot, elect delegates to participate in future conventions, and determine a slate of issues that are important to the party. Issues that are presented in the form of resolutions at caucuses do have a chance to be moved all the way up to the National level.
To participate in your caucus you must be able to vote in the November general election, live in the precinct you are attending, and generally agree with the political party hosting the caucus. All you need to do when you sign in is write your name, address, affiliate yourself with the party, and provide a signature.
Supporting Issues through Resolutions
Presenting a caucus resolution is a great way to support environmental issues or other issues you care about!. Resolutions are adopted at precinct caucuses to be part of a party’s’ platform. They need to be submitted in writing and presented in-person during a caucus. The Sierra Club is supporting six resolutions that you can present at your caucus: Beyond Coal to Clean Energy, Clean Power Plan / Environmental Justice, Great Lakes Compact, Sulfide Mining, Protect the Boundary Waters & Voyageurs, and Transportation Forward.
How to Present your Resolution
If you want to present a resolution you must submit it in writing at your caucus. Each party has a resolution form – you can see the DFL form and the GOP form are slightly different. It helps to bring copies of the resolution to share with other participants to support it. After you present your resolution there is time for discussion or debate, and then the people will vote whether or not to adopt your resolution. Every caucus will be different depending on your party and your precinct.
Over 100 people have already signed up to support the Sierra Club’s six caucus resolutions! We hope that you too will attend your precinct caucus and get involved in the local political process on March 1st! Sign up here to let us know that you plan to introduce a resolution.
There are some great resources if you are looking for caucus information. The League of Women Voters Minnesota has a resource page including a 30 minute video on what to expect at your caucus. For more information on your specific caucus, you can contact your party directly:
- Minnesota DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party)
- Minnesota GOP (Republican Party)
- Minnesota Independance Party Caucuses
- Other Party Caucuses