Learn About Precinct Caucuses and Conventions

WHAT IS A PRECINCT CAUCUS?

Precinct caucuses are meetings run by Minnesota’s political parties. They are the first in a series of meetings where parties may endorse candidates, select delegates, and set goals and values (called party platforms).


WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN A CAUCUS?

To participate, you must be eligible to vote in the November 2020 general election and live in the precinct. You also must generally agree with the principles of the political party hosting the caucus.


WHAT HAPPENS AT THE CAUCUS?

Each political party runs their caucus meetings a little differently. Check with your political party if you have specific questions. Generally, there are three main activities at a caucus:

– Choose volunteers who will organize political activities in the precinct. This could include maintaining contact lists, holding political meetings, and helping with campaign efforts.

– Discuss issues and ideas for the party to support. You can present an issue or idea for the party to support, called a resolution. If you convince other attendees to support your resolution, it will be taken to the next political convention. Eventually, your resolution could become part of the official party platform.

– Choose delegates who will endorse candidates at future conventions. At future conventions, party delegates will endorse state and federal candidates, including for Governor. Political parties have different ways of choosing delegates at the precinct level caucus.


WHAT ARE CONVENTIONS?

Political party conventions happen at four levels, and are hosted by the following: the BPOUs (Senate District or County parties), congressional district parties, the state party, and the national party. Each of these bodies has elected leadership and committee members who make decisions about what the organization will do.

Conventions are held at each level, and for Minnesota nearly all delegates at these conventions were originally chosen on caucus night. Delegates at these conventions vote to endorse candidates and elect leadership, depending on the year. Delegates at a convention also form the party constitution.

Minnesota’s hierarchical party structure (working up from local to national):

  • There are many Precincts in a BPOU
  • There are many BPOUs in a Congressional District
  • There are numerous Congressional Districts in each State
  • There are many States in this Union

IN WHAT ORDER DO THESE CAUCUSES AND CONVENTIONS OCCUR?

Starting out a precinct caucus comes first. Upon completion the BPOU convention is held at a later date. Once all BPOUs in the Congressional District are complete a Congressional District convention follows. Upon completion of all CD conventions there is a State convention. National conventions are typically for Presidential elections.