Most registered voters are familiar with what happens during a general election. You show up, get your ballot, fill it out in the booth, drop it in the scanner, collect your “I voted” sticker, and await the results. It is not uncommon to hear that some people are unaware of who the candidates are, especially state and county candidates. Some even express distaste, questioning how candidates are chosen. This experience can breed distrust in the system. But, it turns out, the election starts months before November. Voters kick off this process at the beginning of the election cycle. In the state of Utah, this process begins with the precinct caucus.
According to the state of Utah’s webpage, “Utah’s political process begins every two years in neighborhood caucuses throughout the state where members of each precinct vote for delegates to represent them at county and state party conventions. Delegates then attend the conventions to vote for candidates that will then face each other in the public general election.” The caucus evening for the Utah Republican Party is held on March 20th. This is where the election process begins, every election cycle, and it is vitally important.
Essentially, what happens, is members of your neighborhood (precinct) meet every two years to choose which members of the community will represent them at the conventions that are held at the county and state level, as well as the local precinct officials. The conventions are where the party decides which candidates will end up on the ballot in November. The people that are chosen at the precinct caucus in March are called precinct’s officers. Each precinct usually has a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, and various other officers depending on the precinct. The caucus is organized by the Chair and Vice-chair from the previous caucus.
Every election cycle brings the opportunity for citizens to ensure that their voices are represented in the process of choosing the candidates who end up on the ballot. Oftentimes, state and local representatives are going to be making the decisions that affect you the most.
According to precinct Chair Lawrence Barlow, the precinct officials are as follows, “Jesse Barlow is Co-chair, Maya Layton is Secretary, Terrill Musser is Treasurer. Dowayne Barlow is County Delegate and Jared Nicol is State Delegate. There are 4 or 5 Poll Watchers.” He continues, “The vote is by the majority of those present. It is important to be present at the Neighborhood Caucus meeting every two years. The caucus officers are only 2-year terms.” That means, if five people show up at the caucus, they are the five people who inform the entire process up until the general election. It is also important to note that voter participation determines the number of delegates each precinct has. More delegates at the conventions give greater political representation at the state and county level.
If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming precinct caucus visit www.utah.gop or you can contact any of the people mentioned above.