Participating in a Precinct Caucus
Precinct caucuses are a foundational pillar of the DFL Party’s grassroots history. A precinct is a voting district established by your city or town. A caucus is a gathering of neighbors for the purpose of discussing issues and organizing the local DFL party unit. All parties have their caucuses on the same night, and the next precinct caucus will be on February 25, 2020.
What to Expect at Your Precinct Caucus
1) Caucus Registration
When you arrive, your first task is to sign in with your name, address, and signature affirming that you consider yourself a member of the DFL Party and not an active member of any other political party. You must be at least 16 years old to participate in precinct caucuses. To vote or be elected as a delegate during the caucus, you must be at least 18 years old and eligible to vote in the next election.
2) Meeting your Neighbors
After registration, you will have an opportunity to meet with your neighbors and build relationships with people in your community who share similar values.
3) Calling the Caucus to Order
The first order of business during caucuses is to call the meeting to order and select a caucus chair who will oversee the meeting. You may also choose to elect a secretary to take notes and keep track of what is happening. Finally, you will need to elect two tellers who will help to count ballots on any issues that will be voted on. This is a great way to get involved during your caucus.
4) Precinct Elections
You will be able to elect precinct chairs and up to two vices chairs. The DFL has a rule that at least one of the vice chairs must be a different gender than the chair. Duties include identifying and organizing DFL supporters in the precinct and attending meetings held by your local unit central committee. Officers are elected for a two year term. Nominations can occur anytime after the caucus chair has been selected and you can always nominate yourself.
During your caucus, local candidates, such as those running for the Minnesota House or Senate, may stop in. They will usually make a short speech seeking your support and this is your chance to learn more about them.
6) Delegate Elections
Your caucus will select delegates and alternates to represent your precinct at the organizing unit conventions and, in some cases, other local unit conventions. Serving as a delegate will allow you to help influence politics in your area as you will participate in endorsing local candidates at your convention, selecting local DFL leadership, and possibly become a state delegate. Alternates are important because if a delegate cannot attend, they represent the precinct in their place. Your local unit may also have you elect members to participate in convention planning committees. This can be a good opportunity to get involved in a short term manner.
If there is an issue you are passionate about and would like to have it added to the DFL Party Platform or Action Agenda, you can submit a resolution for consideration at your precinct caucus. You will need to complete a form in order for the resolution to be considered, which can be found here. For greater explanation of this process, you can check out this video.
Have a scheduling conflict on caucus night?
Know your rights: Minnesota Statutes Section 202A.19 permits Minnesota residents to take time off from work without pay to attend precinct caucuses, provided they give their employer written notice at least 10 days in advance. State universities, community colleges, and public schools may not hold classes or events after 6:00 p.m. on the evening of precinct caucuses. State agencies, school boards, county boards, township boards, city councils, and all other political subdivisions may not conduct meetings after 6:00 p.m. on caucus night.