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Election 2012: Ready to Caucus?

Washington's Republican caucuses are planned for Saturday, March 3. Here's a quick overview of how the process works.

Republican caucuses will be held in Mercer Island and across the state this Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Caucuses are neighborhood gatherings sponsored by the Democratic and Republican parties. The caucuses gauge the support for each presidential candidate, and those proportions are used to allocate delegates to county, legislative, congressional and state conventions, where national convention delegates are eventually chosen. The gatherings also deal with party platforms and other internal matters.

The state Democratic caucuses are scheduled for April 15

So far, candidates ,  and  have visited Western Washington. Mitt Romney is scheduled to be in the area March 1. President Obama visited the region on Feb. 17, and  in a whirlwind one-day stop.

Last year, the state suspended the primary system due to budget concerns, according to the Secretary of State. You can find your caucus locations here: http://www.kcgop.org/caucus-locator/ (all Mercer Island precincts are meeting at ).

How the caucus system works

A caucus is a gathering of registered voters organized by precincts or neighborhoods where people meet to elect delegates to the County Conventions, express their view of different items in the Republican Party Platform and state your presidential preference in our Straw Poll.

Participants are encouraged to arrive at caucus location around 9:30 to check in. In order to facilitate a rapid check-in process, voters are encouraged to bring their voter registration card so they can find their precinct. Voters do check in by precinct. Caucus locations will have list of voters registered in those precincts.

A voter must caucus in the precinct where they are registered to vote; therefore it is imperative that you identify which precinct you are registered to vote in and attend the correct caucus location.

When you sign in, you participate in the presidential straw poll by writing down your presidential preference.

Once you are checked in, you will sit and caucus with your precinct. If it is a pooled caucus, you will be instructed where your precinct will be conducting business. A pooled caucus is simply when multiple precincts are caucusing in the same location, generally a public building. An individual caucus typically meets in a smaller building, sometimes a household.

Once the caucus is underway, your precinct will conduct important business. This is when you can speak in support of the candidate and try to persuade others. You will elect delegates to the county convention, where you will elect delegates to the State Convention and amend and vote on the County Platform. This is the most important business of the caucus. Anyone is able to run to be a delegate to the County Convention. There is a cost associated with attending your county convention; that fee is due in the week or two following the caucus.

After caucus delegates and alternates are nominated and elected, you may fill out an optional questionnaire that asks for your feedback on what the Republican Party platform should be. The caucus is scheduled to adjourn at noon. The statewide results of the presidential straw poll will be released to the media on Saturday evening.

To learn more about the caucus process, see these FAQs from the Washington State Republican Party.

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—Information from the Washington State Republican Party Caucus 

 

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