The Importance of Going to Caucus

Minnesota is one of thirteen states that holds caucuses, and we are lucky they do. Most people feel like they’re powerless to get representatives or senators to change anything, like lower tuition. Nonetheless, caucuses are probably the best way to see change happen. So what exactly is a caucus, and why are they important?

 

“Caucus” actually means “group”. The whole point is to get a group of people that think alike together. The two main political parties in Minnesota, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party and the Growth and Opportunity Party (GOP) organize these. The parties cast an unofficial ballot to see who is a preferred candidate, who should represent the party in endorsing conventions and what the party platform should look like.

While at caucus, people can participate and make a change by doing more than just voting. People can offer resolutions, which is done by filling out a worksheet. These resolutions are voted on, and those with majority vote will be passed down to the district for consideration. It can be as simple as requesting a bus pass by a specific route every 20 minutes, or that they install more gender-neutral bathrooms in common areas. People can also offer motions by raising their hand and talking. These motions are normally the principles that activists will keep in mind. Furthermore, you can be elected as a delegate to go to conventions for the party, where you can pick the party’s nominee for governor, U.S. Senator, and much more. All you need to do is show up.  

Most importantly is the ballot. For this caucus that just passed, there was a lot at stake. There was an open race for governor, three other constitutional offices, the entire Minnesota House, all eight congressional seats and both U.S. senate seats. It’s not an official vote, and it doesn’t set anything in  stone. Nonetheless, it helps the party get an idea of who the people want to represent them and who they want to see on the official ballot. This way, they can remove unpopular candidates so that the party is unified.

Most precinct caucuses are held on the first Tuesday in February in an election year. The next caucus is at the beginning of March, and then there is another important one in August. You don’t even need to be signed up to vote to attend. The only requirement for caucusing is that you sign up in the district where you live and that you voted for the party whose caucus you are attending the previous election. You can find your local caucus location here. The most important thing to remember: show up.