Who do you think should be the next President of the United States?
By Melissa Weisberg, Public Policy Director
Make your voice heard this weekend!
If you’re like me, you have grown accustomed to hearing constant talk about the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and its field of candidates. In fact, with the recent slew of debates and Super Tuesday– not to mention, endless news stories, Facebook discussions (or fights, perhaps), and Twitter exchanges- election talk seems ubiquitous. But this weekend you have a chance to do more than discuss the candidates. If you are a registered Republican or Democrat you can participate in the process. On March 5th and 6th respectively, the Maine Republican and Democratic Parties will hold caucuses, giving you the opportunity to vote for your party’s Presidential nominee.
But how does a caucus work? Who can participate? The Christian Civic League wants to provide answers to some of the most common questions about the caucus process. So keep reading and then go out and vote!
Question: What is the difference between a primary and a caucus?
Answer: According to factcheck.org, “…a caucus is a system of local gatherings where voters decide which candidate to support and select delegates for nominating conventions. A primary is a statewide voting process in which voters cast secret ballots for their preferred candidates.” (For a more detailed answer click here.)
Question: When will Maine hold its caucuses?
Answer: In Maine, the Republican Party will host its presidential nominating caucus on Saturday, March 5th at regional sites across the state. Maine’s Democratic Party will hold its caucus on Sunday, March 6th at various sites throughout the state.
Question: Where will these caucuses be held?
Answer: The Republican caucuses will be held at 22 unique regional sites around the state. For a list of locations, click here. The Democratic Party will hold its caucuses in 530 locations throughout the state. For this list, click here.
Question: Who can participate?
Answer: Only registered Republicans and Democrats can vote at their Party’s caucus. However, both parties will offer registration at the caucus sites. Unenrolled voters can register with a party on the day of the caucus. However, an enrolled Republican or Democrat cannot show up at the caucus of the opposite party and switch enrollment.
Question: What will take place at these caucuses?
Answer: There will be a lot of activity at these caucuses. In addition to voting for your presidential nominee choice, you will also have the chance to hear from Presidential candidates or their surrogates and other elected officials. You can also participate in Party business.
Question: Can I cast my vote and then leave?
Answer: It depends. If you are a Republican, you can cast your vote any time during a voting window and then leave if needed. To see the schedules for each Republican caucus site, click here. If you are a Democrat, your votes are not cast via secret ballot, so you will need to stay for the length of the event. Party business will be conducted first, and then participants will divide themselves into groups based on their nominee preference. For more information, click here.