It seems like just yesterday America was enduring the 2016 presidential elections and now with gubernatorial races behind us, midterms are now less than a year away and for Minnesota, there’s a lot at stake.
The Northstar state currently has all 134 seats in the house and a governorship up for grabs in 2018 midterms, meaning both Democrats and Republicans are starting to fuel their bases.
Last week, the Central Minnesota DFL met in the Greater St. Cloud Public Library to give their supporters a rundown of what to expect starting in 2018.
Many people think it’s plain and simple, they can just run to the polls in November, cast their votes and go on their merry way. However, that’s not the case.
Primaries and Caucuses hold special value in a democracy as it helps narrow down the number of candidates running in the election, but caucuses hold special importance.
Benjamin Carollo, who is running for state House seat 13b said these types of democratic practices are what unify citizens.
“This is really important to me because not every state caucuses,” he said. “It brings people together who care about the same issues.”
During the meeting, members reminded one another how the caucus process works and why Minnesota does it on top of a primary.
Here’s how to break it down:
Why do we have Primaries and Caucuses?
During the election cycle, it can get overcrowded with how many candidates join the race, so people who support those parties have a “pre-election” where only their party votes on their candidates, after all of the primaries and caucuses are complete and a candidate has taken the nomination, they start face-off against the opposing party.
What is the difference between a Primary and a Caucus?
A primary is very similar to a regular election, people usually don’t show signs of support for any candidate, they go in, cast their vote and walk out. During a Caucus, however, people are encouraged to show support for the candidate they want to see clench their parties nomination and can debate with others over why they should or should not vote for that particular candidate.
Another way the caucus differs from a primary is that people from different counties can choose delegates they want to represent them on a state or national level (In this case, it’s state) and whoever delegates support the most, wins the party’s nomination.
Where do I go if I want to participate in either?
There are designated voting precincts assigned to citizens based off of their proximity, most of the time they are held in a school or church, etc. To find out where your voting precinct is, you can check on the Minnesota’s Secretary of State website. Link provided below:
Do I have to register before I go to the polls?
In Minnesota, registering to vote is much easier than in other states because you can register to vote right at the polls. The only things that can hinder you from voting in the state of Minnesota are if you haven’t been a citizen for at least 20 days or you’re not finished with your felony sentences.
Ian Todd a first-time politician, who is running against Tom Emmer for Congressional District Six said, it’s good they have these meetings because even he forgets some of the basics about the election process.
“It was so nice to actually learn about the caucus process, I’ve never been part of one before. So it’s very interesting to see the difference between that and a primary and how they still end up working together,” Todd said.
For many of these candidates, the campaign process is still in the works, but Todd said they’re already fueling their fire.
“Our campaign officially starts November 30, but that doesn’t mean we’ve already started getting into the campaign,” he said. “We’re working on social media, we’re working on our website right now and really it’s all about going around Congressional District Six and greater Minnesota to actually talk to people, ‘DFL’ers’ or not and get a feel of what exactly people want from a Congressman.”
When it comes to issues that concern their voters, both candidates say they want to listen to and understand the issues that concern their constituents.
“There’s always been a lot of issues about cybersecurity and hacking and getting real infrastructure out to the state, just a lot of daily things that affect people’s lives,” Carollo said.
Caucuses are on February 6 and Primaries are on August 14 of next year.