Election season begins here with caucuses Feb. 7The local election season begins here soon. The Minnesota Political Party Caucuses will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7. The ballot will be a full one this year, including the race for President, one senate position (currently held by Amy Klobuchar), all congressional seats, as well as Minnesota’s legislative seats.
By: Jane Lightbourn, The Hastings Star-Gazette
The local election season begins here soon.
The Minnesota Political Party Caucuses will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7.
The ballot will be a full one this year, including the race for President, one senate position (currently held by Amy Klobuchar), all congressional seats, as well as Minnesota’s legislative seats.
What happens there?
The precinct caucuses are meetings organized by the state’s political parties. At each caucus, each party begins the process of electing candidates for the 2012 election and policy positions to shape its party platform.
At the caucus, attendees discuss policy issues and pass policy issues. The caucus provides a forum for citizens to discuss policy and political issues with their neighbors. Attendees may also offer and vote on resolutions to shape the party platform.
Political parties will conduct a straw vote to gauge attendees’ presidential candidate preference. Precinct officers are elected and are responsible for organizing political activities within the precinct.
Delegates are also elected this evening. Delegates influence which candidates and policy positions their party endorses. Caucus attendees elect delegates and alternates to represent their precinct at the political party’s county or district convention.
Who can attend?
Precinct caucuses are open to the public and participation is encouraged by the political party. In order to vote, offer resolutions or become a delegate at a precinct caucus, attendees must be eligible to vote in the 2012 general election, live in the precinct, and be in general agreement with the principles of the political party.
Parties holding precinct caucuses this year are the Constitution, Democratic Farmer Labor, Green, Independence Party (online) and Republican. The Grassroots and Libertarian parties are not holding precinct caucuses this year.
Senate District 57 DFL
The Senate District 57 Democrats (includes Hastings) will cast a presidential preference ballot and discuss important state and local issues.
“This is a very important election year. Not only is it a presidential election year, but there is a U.S. Senate race on the ballot and all 201 state House and Senate seats are up for re-election, including state Sen. Katie Sieben,” said Senate District DFL chair Don Slaten of Hastings. “The precinct caucuses give neighbors the chance to get together to discuss important issues with each other. The precinct caucuses are also a terrific way to have your voice heard about important issues facing our state and nation.”
All Minnesota state legislative seats are on the ballot this fall due to the redistricting scheduled for implementation this year.
Besides the presidential preference ballot, caucus-goers will also debate resolutions that anyone may introduce for possible inclusion in the Minnesota DFL platform. They will also elect delegates for the upcoming district convention March 31.
Anyone who will be eligible to vote in Minnesota by Election Day, November 6, may vote in the presidential preference ballot. Anyone 16 or older may participate in caucus business. Presidential-preference balloting will conclude at 8:30 p.m.
Anyone interested in helping with the February 7 DFL caucus should attend caucus training at the Red Barn in Cottage Grove 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29.
Senate District 57 precinct caucus locations are as follows:
• Afton / St Mary's Point: Afton Lakeland Elementary School.
• Denmark Township: Denmark Town Hall.
• Newport: Newport Elementary School.
• St. Paul Park and Grey Cloud Island: Oltman Jr. High in St. Paul Park.
• Cottage Grove: Park High School.
• Hastings and Nininger Township: Hastings Middle School.
• South St Paul: South St. Paul High School.
Locations for the Republican Party caucuses are as follows:?for the City of Hastings, Ravenna, Nininger and Denmark townships, the location is Hastings High School; for Marshan, Hampton and Vermillion townships, the location is Boeckman Middle School in Farmington
• Constitution – Visit www.cpmn.org.
• Green Party – Visit www.mngreens.org.
• Independence – Online and will be activated Tuesday, Feb. 7.