Summit County caucuses offer regular folks a chance to steer the future
February 3, 2016
Summit County’s Democratic and Republican caucuses won’t be televised nationally, but to local residents they carry as much weight as the race for the nation’s highest office. This year they will be held Tuesday, March 22.
Caucuses are, arguably, the grassroots of our country’s democratic process. It is where local precincts pick delegates to help launch each party’s candidates for county, state, congressional and national offices. In some cases, they can determine the final outcome of an election.
Call it backroom politics or call it a public portal, caucuses can make or break a candidate’s chances of making it onto a primary ballot. It all depends on who turns out to participate.
It used to be that the same handful of local politicos would gather at someone’s home to wheel and deal, form alliances and steer their favored sons toward political office — be it at the courthouse or the state capitol. But as Summit County’s population grew, those cozy caucuses were moved to bigger public venues. Now they are held in school auditoriums and everyone is welcome.
The caucuses follow closely on the heels of the candidates’ filing deadline (March 17) so local citizens will have a good idea of who wants to be on the November ballot for the county council, the state legislature and for Utah’s Congressional delegation. It is a great opportunity to shake hands and listen to the candidates platforms before they get caught up in the political maelstrom.
This will be a watershed election year, not only because of the tumult at the top, but because our own community is facing critical decisions about growth, transportation, health care and a raft of other issues.
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Your participation is essential.
Local caucuses mark the official beginning of the general election process. It is also a smart time to ensure that you are registered to vote. According to Summit County Clerk Kent Jones, his office is preparing to switch over to mail-in ballots this year. If you are already registered, make sure all of your information, including mailing address, is up to date. If you haven’t yet registered and have a Utah driver’s license you can register online at: voter-registration.info/Utah
This is going to be an exciting election year — on every level — and you won’t want to sit on the sidelines. Plan to attend a caucus on March 22 and then be sure to watch the mail for your Primary and General Election ballots.
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