Lake County Caucuses One Week Away on March 1
The Lake County Caucuses for Democrats and Republicans will be held in one week on March 1. So, it’s time to check in with some of Leadville and Lake County’s representatives and provide a few reminders regarding political caucuses and candidates who are running for office.
What Is A Caucus and What Do I Do?
By Merilee Maupin, Lake County Republicans
The electoral process to nominate a candidate for an election is usually called “the primaries,” but there are two different systems that states use: caucus and primary.
Colorado is a caucus state. The caucus is simply the first and most important step in the multi-step political election process. If you do not participate in the precinct caucus, the choices of candidates to vote for will be determined by those who do attend their caucuses. In Colorado, both Democrats and Republicans hold their precinct caucuses on the same day; this year, Tuesday, March 1 at 7 p.m. Every precinct in every county in the state will be holding their caucuses that evening.
Caucuses are simply meetings with your friends and neighbors who are registered with the same political party. In order to vote you must have been a resident of your precinct for at least 30 days and have been registered to vote no later than 29 days before the caucus. You must also have been affiliated with the party for at least 2 months before the caucus. Anyone who turns 18 or becomes a naturalized US Citizen and has registered to vote during the two months prior to caucus is also eligible to vote. Although only those registered can vote, both parties allow any interested person to sit in on the caucus process.
You may register online at your state party website to attend your caucus, but you can also just show up (although you will need to arrive early enough to ensure you can get checked in). You will need identification. The party secretary will have an updated list of everyone registered to that particular party in the County.
After a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, the usual agenda at the caucus is to elect a designated number of alternates and delegates to the county assembly, elect precinct committee people (2 per precinct) to represent each precinct at the county level, and discuss possible resolutions, which is the first step in drafting the party platforms. Often candidates will attend to give their positions and ask for support. Sometimes there are straw polls for national candidates. There is always a plethora of printed material from hopeful candidates.
The caucus format can favor candidates who have a dedicated and organized following because a small band of devoted volunteers can exert an outsized influence in the open setting of a caucus and ensure that their supporters are elected to be county assembly delegates. Usually toward the end of the precinct caucus, there is a lively political discussion of candidates and their pros and cons.
The Republican Caucus for all precincts will be held March 1 at CMC, Climax Bldg., Room 401. The meeting will start promptly at 7 p.m.. Everyone should arrive between 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. to ensure enough time to be registered. You may register on line for caucus at caucus.cologop.org. You will still need to check in, but it will be much faster.
Democrats Prepare to Caucus With Local Candidates
By Brad Littlepage, Chairman, Democratic Central Committee
The Democratic Caucus for all precincts will be held March 1 at the Leadville Elks Lodge, 123 W. 5th Street. The meeting will start promptly at 7 p.m. Everyone should arrive between 6 – 7 p.m. to ensure enough time to be registered. If you are late you will not be able to vote. Be aware that all commissioner candidates may speak for 3 minutes at the beginning of the Caucus.
The following candidate’s information was provided by Lake County Clerk and Recorder Patty Berger who may be reached at 719-486-1410.
Lake County Commissioner, District 2
- Sara Mudge: She is going through the Caucus process and is registered with the state.
- Joe Swyers: He may not Caucus and is working through a petition. He is registered with the state.
- Rohn Bertolas: He has not registered with the state and may not Caucus and may do it through petition.
Lake County Commissioner, District 3
- Bud Elliott: He may not Caucus but does have a petition. He is registered with the state.
- Tina Tekansik: She is doing it through petition and may not Caucus. Not sure if she is registered with the state.
Brad Littlepage, Lake County Democratic Central Committee Chairman. Questions: 719-486-3488. Here’s a video that describes the caucus process from the Colorado Democratic Party: