Vail Daily column: Time for Democratic voters to caucus | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Time for Democratic voters to caucus

Jane Lowery
Valley Voices

On Tuesday, caucuses will be held across Colorado for Democratic and Republican voters. The agendas for both parties are similar, but there are important differences. For example, only Democrats will hold an official presidential preference poll at their caucuses. Delegates for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as well as an uncommitted category will be awarded proportionally based on vote tallies and will go to our county convention on March 19, the next step in selecting Colorado's Democratic nominee for president.

(Republicans in Colorado will not be holding a presidential preference poll to select a nominee.)

Who can participate?

You are eligible to participate in the Democratic caucuses if you have been:

• A resident of your precinct for at least 30 days.

• Registered to vote no later than 29 days before the caucus.

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• Affiliated as a Democrat for at least two months before the caucus.

Anyone who turned 18 or became a U.S. citizen and registered to vote during the two months prior to March 1 is eligible to vote.

Anyone is welcome to attend the caucus and observe, space permitting.

Find your caucus location

The Eagle County Democratic Party has eight caucus locations across the county to make it convenient to attend. We're holding caucuses in Vail, Red Cliff, Minturn, Avon, Edwards, Eagle, Gypsum and in Basalt in the Roaring Fork Valley.

You need to know your precinct number to find your caucus location. If you know your precinct number, skip to Step 2 below to find your caucus location.

Step 1: Find your precinct number. Call the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder at 970-328-8715, or find it online. At govotecolorado.com, which is the secretary of state's website, click on "find my registration," then enter your name, ZIP code and birthdate. Click "search" to view your voter information file. Look for "precinct" under the "district information." The last two numbers of the 10-digit precinct number is your two-digit precinct number.

Step 2: Find your caucus location. Once you know your precinct number, you can find your caucus location at http://www.coloradodems.org/content/eagle-caucus-locations-2016.

Caucus agenda for the evening

Plan to arrive at 6:30 p.m. The caucus will start promptly at 7 p.m. and end by 9 p.m. Members of each precinct caucus complete four items of business during the two-hour meeting:

• Democrats cast their votes in the presidential preference poll to allocate and elect delegates that support Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or neither (uncommitted) to the county convention on March 19.

• Democrats elect two precinct committee persons to represent their precinct for two years. Precinct committee persons are a very important link in making our political system work by connecting their Democratic neighbors in their precinct with the county party. They advocate for our Democratic policies, our elected officials and our candidates and become voting members of the Eagle County Democratic Party Central Committee.

• Caucus attendees are encouraged to sign up to be an election judge. Election judges play a crucial role in the election process, working as a team to ensure fair and unbiased elections. Training is provided by the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder's staff, with hourly compensation between $15 and $18 per hour.

• The Colorado Democratic Party platform publicly states the positions, core values and beliefs of Colorado Democrats on a wide variety of issues. It is revised every two years with ideas that are generated at caucus. Caucus members may submit resolutions to be considered by the county and state for inclusion.

A resolution may be any belief that guides the party. It may be local, like "Red Cliff should have access to high-speed broadband" or it may be about national affairs, like "We support efforts to provide undocumented immigrants with a path to legal citizenship."

The caucus is a unique process with quirky rules that's sometimes chaotic and even noisy. It is quintessential grassroots politics at its best. Eagle County Democrats welcome you to join us as a participant or an observer for this very special evening.

For more information, please contact me at janelowery@eagledems.org.

Jane Lowery is chairwoman of the Eagle County Democratic Party.