Frequently Asked Questions about the Caucus
1. What is a caucus and why is it so important in the election of the Republican Presidential nominee?
A caucus is a gathering of neighbors and friends who get together to discuss politics, elect delegates to the county convention, and cast their vote for the Presidential candidate of their choice.
This year Nevadans have a special opportunity to make a big impact on the eventual Republican nominee. With Nevada holding the “First in the West” caucuses, we will be in position to shape national opinion and help propel one candidate to the Republican nomination for President.
2. What’s the difference between a caucus and a primary?
There are many differences between a caucus and a primary. To begin with, you must physically attend your precinct caucus on Tuesday, February 23rd. Precinct caucuses will start between 5:00pm – 7:00pm and may vary by county. Absentee voting is available for disabled veterans and active duty military, plus their dependents, serving outside of their home county. You can only vote at the caucus location assigned to your precinct.
In addition, not only will you be voting for the Presidential candidate of your choice in the Presidential Preference Poll, you will also be electing delegates and alternate delegates to the county conventions in the spring. And if you want to, you can also help the Party shape its platform.
3. Who can participate in Nevada’s Republican caucuses?
If you are currently registered as a Republican in Nevada you are already eligible to participate. If you are a new resident to Nevada or if you are planning to change your party affiliation to Republican you will need to register before February 13th, 2016 to participate in the precinct caucuses.
Also, if you are seventeen years old and will be eighteen years old on or before November 8th, 2016, you may register as a Republican.
You can register to vote with the Nevada Secretary of State’s online service by CLICKING HERE. Voter registration is also available at the local county government elections office, post office, DMV, or by contacting the Nevada Republican Party.
4. What happens at a Republican caucus?
If you will be attending your first caucus and aren’t sure how it works, don’t worry, many of your fellow Republican caucus goers will be attending their first caucus too. Fortunately, Republican caucuses are simple and easy to understand.
All Republican caucuses in Nevada will start between 5:00pm and 7:00pm on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016. At that time you will sign in with a local Republican volunteer who will verify that you are a registered Republican. A government issued photo I.D. is required.
The caucus will begin by electing a caucus chair and secretary. These two people will be in charge of running the precinct caucus. Generally the local county volunteers that called the meeting to order are elected by voice vote. After that, there will be an election of delegates and alternate delegates from your precinct caucus to the County Convention in the spring. Delegates have the right to vote at the County Convention. And each delegate has an alternate delegate who will vote in their place in case they are unable to attend the County Convention.
Each precinct caucus will be allocated a certain number of delegates and alternates. Anyone may run as a delegate or as an alternate delegate, and the individuals that receive the most votes are elected to represent the precinct at the county convention. Most people vote for delegates and alternate delegates that support the same candidate that they do. It’s the most important part of the caucus and we’ll explain why a little later.
After that, the caucus chair will ask if anyone wants to submit, in writing, an issue to be considered in the county platform. The platform is a document that expresses the beliefs and values of the county party. Issues submitted at the precinct caucus are debated and voted on at the county convention in March, and those that pass become part of the official county platform.
Once all platform issues have been submitted, the caucus chair will ask one person supporting each Republican candidate to stand up and briefly tell everyone attending why they should support their candidate.
After each of the short speeches, we will all cast our vote in the Presidential Preference Poll using paper ballots.
For most precincts, the whole process takes about 30-60 minutes. All meetings will end by 9:00pm.
5. Why is the election of delegates and alternates at the caucus so important?
The reason the election of delegates and alternates is so important is because the Republican nominee for President is chosen by the delegates at the Republican National Convention. In Nevada, the process to become a national delegate begins with getting elected as a delegate at the precinct caucuses.
All Delegates and alternate delegates elected at the precinct caucus will meet in the spring at their county convention. The county convention will then elect delegates to represent them at the State Convention in May. And it’s at the State Convention where the delegates and alternates get elected to the Republican National Convention in July.
Since delegates generally vote for other delegates who support the same candidate as they do, it’s advantageous for a candidate to elect as many people as possible as delegates at the precinct caucuses. The more delegates a candidate has after the precinct caucuses in February, the greater the chance they will have the most delegates from Nevada to the National Convention in July.
Its’ an exciting process and we encourage everyone, especially first time caucus goers to run as delegates or alternate delegates at their precinct caucuses in January. It’s a great way to have your voice heard and to have a say in how our Party operates.
6. Is this my only chance to vote for my favorite Republican Presidential candidate or can I wait and vote in the primary?
The February 23rd precinct caucus will be the only chance you’ll have for voting for your favorite Republican Presidential candidate. Presidential candidates will not be on the ballot in Nevada’s June primary.
What are Caucuses?