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DFLers and Republicans across Minnesota will hold precinct caucuses Tuesday, a first step candidates must go through to appear on the ballot for the state’s midterm elections.
A majority of Democrats will participate remotely, as the omicron variant surges through the state. The Republican Party will have more than 120 local, in-person caucus events across the state.
Here’s how to caucus on Tuesday:
What is a precinct caucus?
They are the first in a series of local precinct meetings, run by political parties, where parties can endorse and select candidates and set party platforms, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State.
Where to caucus?
DFL: Some activists will gather in person, mostly in greater Minnesota. Attendees have to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test. To find out if your local party unit is doing in-person or remote caucuses, visit caucus.dfl.org.
GOP: Republicans will hold in-person caucuses across the state Tuesday evening. To find your caucus location, visit caucusfinder.sos.state.mn.us.
When does it start?
DFL: Caucus registration begins by 6:30 p.m. and a call to order at 7 p.m.
GOP: Caucuses will start at 7 p.m.
Who can participate?
DFL: Participants should consider themselves a member of the party and be at least 16 years old, according to the Minnesota DFL’s website. A recent court ruling allows people convicted of a felony and on probation, immigrants who are not U.S. citizens and others who are not eligible to vote to participate in caucuses.
GOP: Participants must be a Republican eligible to vote in the next general election and live in that precinct, according to the MN GOP’s website.
Generally participants choose volunteers to organize political activities, discuss issues and ideas for the party’s platforms and choose delegates to the state party conventions, where candidates are endorsed, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.
Republicans are hoping for a big turnout from activists who will vote in a preference poll in the race for governor.
So far, more than a half dozen Republican candidates are vying to challenge DFL Gov. Tim Walz next fall and all have pledged to abide by activists’ decision, meaning they won’t challenge the party endorsed candidate in the August primary. A strong performance in the precinct caucus straw poll could give a candidate momentum heading into the party’s May endorsing convention in Rochester.
Star Tribune staff writer Briana Bierschbach contributed to this report.