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Presidential voting is highlight at Republican, Democratic caucuses Tuesday, March 1

Hastings residents can have a real say in their political party’s choice for the president this year and it starts next Tuesday, March 1. Minnesota’s major political parties are holding their 2016 caucuses, beginning at 7 p.m. Minnesota is one of 12 states either holding caucuses or primary elections on Tuesday, which has been designated “Super Tuesday.”

The presidential preference ballot voting will kick off the evening.

Candidates on the Democrat presidential ballot are Hillary Clinton, Rocky De La Fuente Guerra, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders (these were the approved names of the state party leaders in January).

On the Republican presidential ballot are Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump. The names were determined by the party’s state officials earlier this year – some candidates have since withdrawn.

Those who attend the party caucus will choose volunteers who will organize political activities in the precinct. This could include maintaining contact lists, holding political meetings and helping with the presidential preference ballot, which will determine how many delegates each candidate gets at their party’s national endorsing convention. Attendees at the caucus will discuss issues and ideas for the party to support. Anyone can present an issue or idea for the party to support, called a resolution. If the resolution is supported, it will be taken to the next political convention. Eventually, the resolution could become part of the official party platform. The caucus will endorse candidates at future conventions. At future conventions, party delegates will endorse state and federal candidates, including for president. Political parties have different ways of choosing delegates at the precinct level caucus.

The caucus locations are: Democrat locations (District 54):

Hastings Middle School for Nininger Township and Hastings.

Denmark Town Hall for Denmark Township.

Cottage Grove Middle School for Cottage Grove.

Newport Junior High School for Newport.

Oltman Junior High School for St Paul Park and Grey Cloud Island.

Lakeland Junior High School for Afton.

Republican locations (District 54):

Hastings High School for precincts in Hastings, Nininger Township, Denmark Township and Afton.

Park High School in Cottage Grove for precincts in Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport and Grey Cloud Island.

Kaposia Education Center Elementary School in South St. Paul for precincts in South St. Paul.

The nearest Independence Party caucus location is at Inver Glen Library, Inver Grove Heights.

The nearest Green Party caucus location is at Central High School, St. Paul.

In addition to the Presidential race, Hastings area voters will vote for the Minnesota House of Representatives, Minnesota Senate, Congress – Second District, and the four Hastings City Council ward seats. Dakota County Board of Commissioners up for election this year are: District 3, currently held by Thomas Egan; District 4, currently held by Nancy Schouweiler (she is not seeking another term); District 5, currently held by Liz Workman; and District 7, currently held by Chris Gerlach. District 1 Commissioner Mike Slavik of Hastings has two years remaining on his term.

There is no Hastings School District 200 election this year.

The filing period for offices opens May 17 and closes May 31. The primary election is Aug. 9.