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Caucuses, Primaries, Elections, Oh My!

By YWCA Minneapolis
February 24, 2020
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2020 is a significant election year nationally and locally – and our election process is happening a bit differently this year. What is a caucus? What is a primary? Why do we have both in Minnesota? Read on to learn more about what to expect on key election dates and how you can participate.

Minnesota Precinct Caucuses – February 25

Minnesota has caucuses in addition to this year’s presidential nominating primary election. A caucus is essentially a political party meeting used to make decisions for upcoming election cycles. Caucuses are hosted by political parties and are used to vote on party business, leadership and rules – and select delegates to attend the City, State and National Conventions on behalf of state and local candidates or issues. There are four major parties in Minnesota and caucus locations are based on your party and where you live. Seventeen-year-olds can caucus if they will be 18 by the next election.

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Presidential Nominating Primary Election – March 3

March 3 is the presidential nominating Primary Election! It’s the fourth one we’ve ever had in the state and the first since 1992. The purpose of the election is for parties to nominate a candidate for the U.S. Presidency. Minnesota has four official parties, two of which (Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Republican Party of Minnesota) are participating in the primary. Request a ballot for the party with which you feel most aligned. You can find a sample ballot on the Secretary of State’s website, but because they were printed in January, the candidates listed are at varying levels of candidacy now – ask the parties if you have questions! You can register on Election Day in Minnesota, plus early and absentee voting are available. Please vote if you are able!

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Minnesota Primary Election – August 11

The August primary election will be the ballot on which state and local candidates and resolutions will be determined – these are the candidates and issues discussed at the precinct caucuses in February and through the City and State Convention process.

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General Election – November 3

The election for all of the races, with candidates and resolutions narrowed down through both caucuses and primaries in Minnesota. This November’s ballot will include presidential, federal and state races. More information and sample ballots can be found at the Secretary of State’s website leading up to November 3.

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