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CAUCUS AND CONVENTION

About

The DFL Party believes democracy starts at the grassroots. That is why the electoral process begins at precinct caucuses and continues to conventions at each level to endorse candidates, elect party leaders, and shape the party platform. These gatherings are an important way to get involved in the democratic process and make your voice heard.

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PRECINCT CAUCUS

A caucus is a gathering of neighbors for the purpose of discussing issues and organizing the local DFL party unit. All parties have their caucuses on the same night, and the next statewide precinct caucus date is February 27, 2024.
 

1) Caucus Registration – begins by 6:30 pm

When you arrive, your first task is to sign in with your name, address, and signature affirming that you consider yourself a member of the DFL Party and not an active member of any other political party. You must be at least 16 years old to participate in precinct caucuses. To vote or be elected as a delegate during the caucus, you must be at least 18 years old and eligible to vote in the next election.

2) Meeting your Neighbors

After registration, you will have an opportunity to meet with your neighbors and build relationships with people in your community who share similar values.

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3) Calling the Caucus to Order – at 7:00 pm

The first order of business during caucuses is to call the meeting to order and select a caucus chair who will oversee the meeting. You may also choose to elect a secretary to take notes and keep track of what is happening. Finally, you will need to elect two tellers who will help to count ballots on any issues that will be voted on. This is a great way to get involved during your caucus.

4) Precinct Elections

You will be able to elect precinct chairs and up to two vice-chairs. The DFL has a rule that at least one of the vice-chairs must be a different gender than the chair. Duties include identifying and organizing DFL supporters in the precinct and attending meetings held by your local unit central committee. Officers are elected for a two-year term. Nominations can occur anytime after the caucus chair has been selected and you can always nominate yourself.

5) Candidates

During your caucus, local candidates, such as those running for the Minnesota House or Senate, may stop in. They will usually make a short speech seeking your support and this is your chance to learn more about them.

6) Delegate Elections

Your caucus will select delegates and alternates to represent your precinct at the organizing unit conventions and, in some cases, other local unit conventions. Serving as a delegate will allow you to help influence politics in your area as you will participate in endorsing local candidates at your convention, selecting local DFL leadership, and possibly become a state delegate. Alternates are important because if a delegate cannot attend, they represent the precinct in their place. Your local unit may also have you elect members to participate in convention planning committees. This can be a good opportunity to get involved in a short term manner.

7) Resolutions

If there is an issue you are passionate about and would like to have it added to the DFL Party Platform or Action Agenda, you can submit a resolution for consideration at your precinct caucus. You will need to complete a form in order for the resolution to be considered, which can be found here in the coming months. For a greater explanation of this process, you can check out this video.

Have a scheduling conflict on caucus night?

Know your rights: Minnesota Statutes Section 202A.19 permits Minnesota residents to take time off from work without pay to attend precinct caucuses, provided they give their employer written notice at least 10 days in advance. State universities, community colleges, and public schools may not hold classes or events after 6:00 p.m. on the evening of precinct caucuses. State agencies, school boards, county boards, township boards, city councils, and all other political subdivisions may not conduct meetings after 6:00 p.m. on caucus night.

 

Non-Attendee Form: If you want to participate, but cannot attend you can submit a non-attendee form at bit.ly/caucusforhuldah

ORGANIZING UNIT CONVENTION

The Organizing Unit is the second level of the DFL Party structure. Delegates are elected to their Organizing Unit conventions at their local precinct caucuses. Then, these delegates will endorse candidates for the state legislature and choose delegates to move on to the state and congressional district conventions.

Convention Tasks:

  • Endorse candidates for State Senate and House

  • Elect party unit officers

  • Elect State Central Committee members

  • Vote on resolutions for consideration at the State Convention and inclusion in the DFL Platform

  • Elect delegates to their Congressional District and State Conventions

  • Consider amendments to the party unit constitution

Sample Convention Agenda:

This is a sample agenda for an Organizing Unit Convention with explanations of each event. Your convention’s agenda may look different depending on what it needs to accomplish.

Registration

At registration, if you are a delegate, you will sign in and receive credentials. This is generally a name tag that you wear which allows you to be on the “floor,” or the area where voting is happening. If you are an alternate, you should also sign in and get credentials, and you will be informed of “upgrading procedures.” This is the process by which you can switch from being an alternate to a delegate. You will often be seated near the other delegates from your precinct, but seating is decided by the convention committees.

Calling the Convention to Order 

This is simply the official start of the convention and is generally followed by a flag ceremony and welcoming of delegates and guests.

Reading of Affirmative Action, Outreach and Inclusion Statement

We begin all DFL conventions by reading the Affirmative Action, Outreach, and Inclusion statement to help keep these goals at the forefront of our organizing efforts.

Resolving any Credentials Challenges

Credentials are how we ensure the correct people are participating in the voting procedures. If a person believes they do not have the correct credentials following registration, this is an opportunity for them to appeal to the larger group. This allows us to confirm that all eligible delegates and upgraded alternates have the correct badges from registration and are ready to participate in voting during the convention.

Election of Convention Chair(s) and Appointment of Secretary and other Convention Officials

At each convention, delegates get to vote on who will lead the convention as the Chairs. Generally, the Chairs are asked in advance, so they can prepare. However, anyone can be nominated from the floor to fill these positions.

Officer Reports 

Officers in your local unit may share what they are working on within the unit or successes they have had since the last convention.

Adoption of Agenda and Rules

The agenda and rules of the convention must be approved by the members of the convention. This is typically done by a vote of acclimation.

Endorsement of Local Candidates

Election of Party Officers and Directors

Depending on how your Organizing Unit elects officers and directors, you may vote to elect either officers, directors, or both at your convention. These positions, plus precinct leadership, combine into your Organizing Unit Central Committee. The convention is in charge of running the local unit, but between conventions, it is run by a unit’s Central Committee.

Adoption of Resolutions

Resolutions that were passed during precinct caucuses are presented at Organizing Unit Conventions, and a certain number of the resolutions earning the greatest number of votes will be considered at the State Convention.

Election of State and CD Convention Delegates/Alternates

Organizing Units are allowed to send a select number of delegates to their Congressional and State Conventions. (See 2022-23 Official Calll). The selection of these delegates can take place as an election or through a process known as a walking sub-caucus. If you are interested in helping to endorse congressional representatives or statewide candidates, you should run to be a delegate at this level.

Election of Congressional and State Convention Delegation Co-Chairs

Your Organizing Unit delegates and alternates make up your delegation. You will elect people to lead this group at the conventions they attend.

Adjournment

This is the closing of the convention.

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