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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

View 2014 precinct caucus straw poll results.

Precinct caucuses are meetings organized by Minnesota’s political parties, typically on the first Tuesday in February of a statewide election year.

Minnesota’s major political parties must hold caucuses at least every statewide election year. Other political parties may also choose to hold caucuses. It is the first step for the party to select candidates and choose the party’s goals and values (called the party platform).

Who can attend a caucus?
Precinct caucuses are open to the public. But in order to vote, offer resolutions, or become a delegate, you must:

  • Be eligible to vote in the fall election.
  • Live in the precinct.
  • Be in general agreement with the principles of the political party (Minnesota does not have an official party registration process).

Caucus accessibility
An individual who is deaf, deafblind, or hard-of-hearing can request a major political party to provide an interpreter at the precinct caucus. A visually impaired individual can request written caucus materials in advance from a major political party.

What happens at the caucus?

  1. Elect precinct officers who work to organize political activities in the precinct. This could include maintaining contact lists, convening political meetings and helping with campaign efforts.
  2. Discuss issues and ideas for the party to support. People may bring ideas, called resolutions, to be voted on. People usually bring a typed or handwritten copy of their resolution.
  3. Vote for the person you want the party to support for governor or president. This is called the straw poll, which is an informal poll to learn how much support each candidate has. Candidates are officially chosen at future meetings, called conventions.
  4. Elect delegates to represent your precinct at upcoming political conventions that are held during an election year. The first are the political party’s county or district conventions. At these conventions, delegates endorse candidates to represent the county or district, and then choose a smaller number of delegates for the party's congressional and state conventions. These delegates will endorse candidates to represent the congressional district or statewide offices such as governor or U.S. Senator.

Restriction on Public Meetings
On caucus day, certain entities are restricted from holding meetings after 6 pm. This includes:

  • Local governments
  • Colleges or universities
  • Public schools
  • Meetings at public school buildings
  • State public meetings

For more details, see Minnesota Statues 202A.19.

Last updated: 4/4/2014 11:18:30 AM