Minnesota’s major political parties use a Caucus system, in which Minnesotans get together with their neighbors to help determine their parties’ values, endorsements, and leadership roles. It’s a great way to meet like-minded neighbors and make your voice heard on the issues you care about!
Caucuses start at the Precinct level across the state. This year, Precinct Caucuses will be held in person on February 1, 2021 starting at 7:00 PM, or virtually – check your local party unit for details.
How to Caucus
- Decide which party to caucus for. Minnesota does not require party registration to vote, but you should caucus with the party that best aligns with your values. You must be at least old enough to vote by the following general election in order to participate in caucuses. However, the DFL Caucuses are now open to some individuals otherwise ineligible to vote, including non-citizen immigrants and people serving felony sentences.
- Determine if you need time off or accomodations. Your employer is legally required to give you time off to caucus as long as you submit a written request at least 10 days in advance. If you require accomodations due to hearing or visual impairment, the major parties must accomodate you.
- Find your caucus location on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.
- If you can’t make it on February 1st, you may still be able to submit resolutions or run for a delegate position – contact your local party unit for the forms to submit.
- Recruit your family, friends, and neighbors!
- Make sure you show up with the information you need at 7:00 PM on February 1st – or earlier if you’d like to volunteer, table, or support a candidate.
Moving Up the Pyramid
Each Precinct Caucus will choose delegates from within the precinct to attend the next level of the party process – the County or Organizing Unit Conventions. At these conventions, delegates will vote on party officers, endorsements for Minnesota House and Senate candidates, resolutions, and delegates for the Congressional District convention. The same thing happens at the Congressional District level for U.S. House Candidates and State convention delegates.
It’s worth noting that this is a redistricting year – it’s possible that your precinct may be moved to a different district sometime in the next few months. But don’t let that dissuade you from caucusing or signing up to be a delegate!
If you want to make your voice heard at the State convention, you’ll have to start with selection at the Precinct level. You may also be able to vote for delegates who share your values. Your Caucus chair or local party unit will be able to help you understand the process.
Check out our Resolutions Hub for example resolutions from environmental organizations. You can submit these at your precinct caucus or use them to help craft your own resolution.
During an in-person Precinct Caucus, your caucus chair will ask if anyone has resolutions to bring forward. Resolutions are simple statements of values or policy priorities that you’d like your party to adopt or maintain. Those that pass will go on to help shape your party’s platform, but they must receive support at multiple conventions to keep moving upward.
If your precinct caucuses are virtual, you may be able to submit resolutions directly to your organizing unit convention without having to get approval from the neighbors in the precinct! Check with your organizing unit to find out if this applies to you.
Check out these opportunities to learn about caucusing on the issues you care about.
- MNIPL and the 100% Campaign Precinct Caucus Training, January 18, 2022, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
- Land Stewardship Project: Caucus for People and the Land, January 19, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
- Friends of the Boundary Waters: Become a Clean Water Delegate, options on January 27th and January 31st