What is a Precinct Caucus?
In an election year, political parties have to nominate candidates, write platforms, and
organize their efforts to get out the vote on Election Day. Colorado’s process starts with
precinct caucuses based on state law, party rules, and a delegate selection plan. Only the
Democratic Party and the Republican Party hold caucuses and each establishes their own
Precincts are the smallest political unit in the state. They are held in homes, schools,
churches, or other locations in the neighborhood. All precinct caucus locations must be
accessible to people with disabilities. There are close to 4000 precincts in Colorado.
In Presidential election years, the caucus will be held on the first Tuesday of February. In
2008, the caucuses will be held on February 5 at 7:00 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend
the caucus, but must be a registered Democrat or Republican in their precinct. The voter must be affiliated with a Party no later than December 5, 2007. There are two
exceptions: if you turn 18 or become a U.S. citizen during the two-month period prior to
At every caucus, the general agenda is the same:
· Elect a Chair and Secretary of the caucus;
· Elect two precinct committee people to represent the precinct on the
Party’s County Central Committee
· Elect delegates to the County Assembly/County Convention
· Introduce, debate and approve or reject resolutions and platform issues.
That is the basic agenda. In reality, it’s a lot more fun. Your caucus reflects you and
your neighbors. Some meet, do their business and adjourn. Others will debate for hours.
First, the caucus elects a chairperson to run the meeting and a secretary to write the
minutes of the meeting.
In 2008, we are asking that a Presidential preference poll be conducted as the first order
of business after the election of the Chair and Secretary, and immediately report those
results to your County Party Chair, so that the County Chair can report the county results
to the State Party to report to the press and media by 9:30 p.m. on caucus night.
The election of precinct committee people will represent the caucus on the County Party
Central Committee for the next two years. They are expected to do precinct work, get out
the vote for all candidates in their party on Election Day, and assist in the planning of the
People at your caucus can also introduce items to be included in the party platform; these
can range from fascinating to truly bizarre. There will be debate on the proposals as well
as a vote. If the item is approved, it will be passed on the county platform committee,
which will discuss incorporating into the county platform. Not all items will end up in
the County Platform or the State Platform.
The County Assembly
At the County Assembly, the process starts all over again:
· Only this time, candidates are nominated for countywide offices;
· The State Assembly, which nominates candidates for statewide offices and considers
the State platform;
· The Congressional District Assembly, which nominates candidates for Congress and
the State Board of Education;
· The State Senatorial and Representative District Assemblies, which nominate
candidates for the Colorado General Assembly;
· The Judicial District Assembly, which nominates candidates for District Attorney
The County Convention
At the County Convention the process:
· Elects delegates to the Congressional Convention and the State Convention based
on fair reflection of Presidential Candidates.
There are a number of assemblies/conventions but most are held on the same day at the same
location. Usually, the Congressional District Assembly/Convention is held prior to the State
Assembly/Convention or a location and time to be determined by the Congressional Central
The Primary Election for Non-Presidential Candidates
A candidate must receive 30% of the vote at the County Assembly in order to be placed on the
August Primary Ballot. If more than one candidate gets 30% of the vote at an assembly, then
both names will appear on the August primary ballot to be elected by the voters of their party.
The General Election
The winners of the primary get their party’s nomination and go on to the General Election in
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Friday, January 11, 2008
What is a Precinct Caucus?