Caucuses and primaries are approaching.
What is the difference between the two and what does Minnesota have this year? Perhaps more importantly, why should you care?
In 2016, legislation was passed which established a presidential nomination primary for Minnesota. This legislation did not do away with the caucuses, which will still be taking place on February 25. The primary will take place one week later, on March 3. So, to answer the question: What does Minnesota have this year? We have BOTH. What is the purpose of the primary and caucuses?
Caucus, February 25: Caucuses perform several important functions. They help grow the local party base, delegates are elected to vote at the local and state nominating conventions, resolutions (which are meant to provide input for where the party should stand) are presented and voted on, and people can volunteer to become an election judge. Caucuses are also a time and place where you can meet and discuss with other members of your community who share similar ideals and values.
Caucuses around the state convene at 7 p.m. The locations for caucuses are determined by the local organizing unit. Multiple precincts (townships and cities) attend the same caucus location. For information on caucus locations in Fillmore County for the DFL Party, contact the local DFL Chair at www.dfl.org/localunit/fillmore-county-dfl/. For information on caucus locations in Fillmore County for the Republican Party, contact the local Republican Chair at fillmorecountygop.com.
If you have difficulty discerning your precinct, this Fillmore County GIS website is helpful: gis.co.fillmore.mn.us/link/jsfe/index.aspx.
Primary, March 3: The purpose of the primary is to support a candidate for President you want to see as your party’s nominee. According to the Secretary of State (SOS), only two major parties will participate, the DFL and the Republican Party. Other parties notified SOS that they won’t be taking part in this year’s primary.
On October 24, 2019, the Chairwoman of the Republican Party of Minnesota submitted one name for the Republicans, Donald J. Trump. I am not sure if there will be an “Uncommitted” checkbox option for Republican voters.
The Chairman of the Minnesota DFL, submitted 15 names, as well as the option for “Uncommitted” on the ballot, in his letter to the SOS. Bear in mind, some of these names include candidates who have officially dropped out of the race, but since their names were included by the deadline, their names will still appear on the preferential ballot. Those names are in alphabetical order: Michael Bennet, Joseph Biden, Michael R. Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John K. Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elisabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.
Voting on Super Tuesday (March 3) is virtually an all-day affair, however the exact times when voting booths open and close aren’t listed yet on the SOS website. The website does address that absentee voting begins January 17, and voters must request a ballot of their party of choice in order to vote in the presidential nomination primary.
Official Primary and Caucus information can be found at the Secretary of State’s websites:
If you are happy with your party’s direction and goals, attend caucus to help maintain the status quo. If you’re unhappy with the direction of your party, go to caucus equipped with your ideas and become a leader in the local organizing unit. Democracy isn’t a spectator sport. I encourage you to step up and take part in the problem-solving process for our Republic.
Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan: https://officialdocuments.sos.state.mn.us/Files/GetDocument/121151
DFL Chair Ken Martin: https://officialdocuments.sos.state.mn.us/Files/GetDocument/121770
Primary/General Election Information: https://www.twincities.com/2019/12/29/when-is-the-presidential-primary-how-early-can-i-vote-heres-your-2020-mn-political-calendar/