Note: I'd love to make this "about" Obama, which I will admit to doing when emailing a similar message to the Utah for Obama group earlier this evening. However, even if you're a Hillary supporter, the information below will benefit Democrats at every level, from the bottom, all the way to the Presidential nominee. I hope you'll give 2 hours next Tuesday and help make a difference.
This coming Tuesday, March 25, Democratic County Caucuses, aka Mass Meetings, will be taking place across Utah. Most of them are at 7 PM. The Democratic Party needs every one of you to participate. You can get information about the location of yours at the Utah State Democratic Party web site, or at the Salt Lake County Democrats web site.
What is a County Caucus?
At the County Caucus, the local Democratic party organizes at it's most basic level. Precinct Officers and Delegates to the County Convention are elected. Some of this varies by county, so do check into it for your county. For Salt Lake County, County Convention Delegates are also Delegates to the Utah State Convention.
A Precinct Officer is an elected representative for their precinct, which is a very small area in most cases. They should keep in contact with people in their neighborhood, so that everyone can feel connected to the Democratic Party. They are part of the gateway between the average person and the highest levels of the Democratic Party. They help candidates for elected offices organize local action, such as walking, phone banking, etc. Most of the year, this communication requires only a few hours a month, depending on what the Precinct Officer wants to do. When it gets close to election time, a Precinct Officer might spend a couple of hours per week helping organize the local action. Of course, there's not a "required" amount of time, but in general, a Precinct Officer should have an idea of who in their neighborhood might want to volunteer, and can help campaigns reach those people, and should help contact their neighbors to get them to vote in the election (Get Out The Vote - GOTV). Any further questions on this will be answered by the Legislative Chair at the Caucus.
A Legislative Chair is responsible for communication between the Party and up to 20 or 30 Precinct Officers, depending on the area. They will work very close with their State Representatives when there is a campaign going. Sometimes there could be a lot of work involved, which is why many areas choose to also elect a Legislative Vice Chair. In Salt Lake County, there is a Regional Director that they will work closely with, to help keep everything organized and moving, and keep the lines of communication with the County Democratic Party open. In other counties, they will work directly with the County Party. I am one of 5 Regional Directors in Salt Lake County, and I know that there is a lot of support for our Legislative Chairs, so don't be afraid to step up, if you're interested in doing this.
A Delegate represents the Democrats in a precinct at the County Convention, where they will vote. This is the really fun part! Some of the County Delegates are also State Delegates (this varies by county). If this is not the case for your county, another Caucus will be held where the County Delegates will elect the State Delegates.
And where this gets very exciting, in May, the State Delegates will be the ones who choose the National Delegates. National Delegates are the people who attend the Democratic National Convention in August to nominate the Democratic Presidential Candidate.
Now, there's tons more information about how that all works, and I'll be writing at a later date about that, but right now this means we need everyone to get involved with the local Democratic Party! In many places, the Precinct Officer positions are empty, because in the past, people have not known about them or feel like it's a waste of time. With what I've seen over the last year, I definitely know better than that, and I hope you do too! This is the year for Democrats in Utah! Many of us are seeing the opportunity around us, right here in Utah. We have been so close on so many elections in Utah, and your participation will make a difference! If you have any desire to be a part of this local change, please consider becoming a Precinct Officer, or a Legislative Chair or a Delegate. You won't be alone once you take one of these positions. The County Parties and the Utah State Democratic Party have really got good things going and will help you every step of the way. But, having people in these positions is vital to the success of Democrats at all levels, from City Council all the way to President, this fall.
And, even if you don't want to take one of these positions, please attend, and cast your vote for the person you think will be the best. This may seem like a light matter, but really, everything that happens at the County, State and National level with the Democratic Party is based on what happens at the Precinct Level. The people you vote for will directly impact this November's election. So, please attend. And get your friends and family to go, too.
More information about the Salt Lake County Caucuses can be found on the party web site.
If you are outside of Salt Lake County, check your local county Democrats web site, found through the Utah State Democrats web site.
Who can go?
Anyone who qualifies to vote this coming November can attend and participate in the Caucus.
I have attempted to explain the information above to the best of my ability. It is possible that I don't have things exactly right, or that they vary from county to county. Please check with your local County Democratic Party with any questions you have, and for verification. The "legal jargon" for all of the rules surrounding the process can be found through each County Democratic Party. Feel free to let me know if you discover any errors in the above information.