- Tue. Mar. 13, at 7 p.m. for Democrats
- Thur. Mar. 15, at 7 p.m. for Republicans
To register to vote or for information on where your precinct meeting will be held please visit www.vote.utah.org
Maura Carabello, managing partner of The Exoro Group, presented the 1 p.m. caucus training session held in the Oak Room at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus on Thursday, Mar. 1. It was one of four sessions held across SLCC campuses on Thursday.
The sessions were designed to educate and encourage students to get involved in the political process in their neighborhood precincts. They were also aimed at encouraging students to become legislative delegates or support others as legislative delegates that support the issues they care about.
“The big secret is, there is no secret,” Carabello said. “Caucus is just a fancy word for meeting and anyone [18 or older] can be elected as a delegate.”
Precincts consist of approximately 1,000 people that live in a similar area. Precinct caucuses are held in public spaces like schools and libraries. They are held separately by party and are generally from one to two hours in length.
Too often people don’t participate in their precinct caucuses because they are intimidated by the jargon or feelings of inadequacy when comparing themselves to others that seem to be “in the know.” Another challenge is that people tell themselves that they are too busy, or their vote won’t make a difference. Carabello assured the audience that their votes do count, but people need to participate.
Carabello said that Utah is ranked No. 45 of the 50 states for voter turnout. She said that 53 percent of registered voters voted in 2010 and only 35 percent of eligible voters generally vote. During the hot senate race in 2010, caucus attendance doubled to five percent, but generally only two percent participation can be expected. Carabello said that two-thirds of general elections are landslides simply because one candidate did a good job of getting voter support to the poles and no one else bothered to show up to vote for any of the other candidates.
Utah is one of seven states with a caucus system and only two states, Utah and Connecticut, require caucuses to get on the ballot, according to Carabello.
Elections in 2012 include president, governor and four seats of Congress. Half of the State Senate and all of the State House of Representatives are open (13 open seats) as well as the state school board elect.
Many activists and special interest groups focused on particular issues tend to show up to precinct caucuses. Carabello said that precinct caucuses would benefit from more individual participants to help balance this out and prevent special interest groups from dominating the political scene.
Delegates are elected for two years and are expected to dedicate approximately eight hours of service per year. Those who are passionate about issues and enjoy attention often make great delegates
“Bringing your vote with you [to your precinct caucus] is a great way to get elected,” Carabello said.
If you decide you’d like to run for delegate be prepared to give a pitch at your precinct caucus explaining why you want to become a delegate and what issues you care about.
During the precinct caucuses delegates are elected by voter majority. The elected delegates from the precinct caucus then attend convention to be nominated into the primaries. Selection for national delegates and super delegates occur at the state convention on April 21, 2012.
It is possible to be elected as both a state and a national delegate.
Delegate positions not filled during precinct caucuses may be slotted by chair people and alternative and wait lists may exist. It’s a good idea to get in touch with your precinct officers prior to the precinct caucuses for additional details.