Minnesota's 2016 Precinct Caucuses

Starting the week of February 8, use our online caucus finder to get your caucus location.

Free caucus workshop 

Join us on February 25 for the Secretary’s Address on the State of Elections in St. Paul.

After the address, representatives from the two major parties invite you to attend a workshop to learn how to participate in each party’s precinct caucus process. Learn more and RSVP.

We encourage Minnesotans to show support for their preferred candidates by participating in the candidate endorsement process that leads up to the state and national party conventions.

It all begins on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 with the precinct caucuses. Going to a caucus is a great way to show support for a candidate, raise an issue that’s important to you, influence who the party will endorse for many offices, and meet people in your community. 

Never been to a caucus? Not sure how it works? Learn more about the process below!


What is a precinct caucus?

Precinct caucuses are meetings run by Minnesota’s political parties. They are the first in a series of meetings where parties endorse candidates and set goals and values (called the party platform).

In 2016, a major part of precinct caucuses will be to vote for the person you want your political party to support for President in the presidential preference ballot.


Date and locations

Minnesota Republican Party and Minnesota DFL Party
Tuesday, March 1 starting at 7:00 PM. 
Find your caucus location online starting the week of February 8. 

Minor political parties
Contact your party directly for dates and locations. View minor party contact information.


Who can participate in a caucus?

To participate, you must be eligible to vote in the November general election and live in the precinct. You also must generally agree with the principles of the political party hosting the caucus.


What will happen at the caucus?

Each political party runs their caucus meetings a little differently. Check with your political party if you have specific questions. Generally, there are four main activities at a caucus:

  1. Choose volunteers who will organize political activities in the precinct. This could include maintaining contact lists, holding political meetings, and helping with campaign efforts.

  2. Vote for the person you want the party to support for President. This is called the presidential preference ballot. The results determine how many delegates each candidate gets at their party's national endorsing convention.

  3. Discuss issues and ideas for the party to support. You can present an issue or idea for the party to support, called a resolution. If you convince other attendees to support your resolution, it will be taken to the next political convention. Eventually, your resolution could become part of the official party platform. 

  4. Choose delegates who will endorse candidates at future conventions. At future conventions, party delegates will endorse state and federal candidates, including for President. Political parties have different ways of choosing delegates at the precinct level caucus—contact your party for more information.


I cannot go to the caucus. Can I vote absentee in the presidential preference ballot?

The Minnesota Republican Party and Minnesota DFL Party do not have an absentee voting option for the presidential preference ballot. You will need to be there in person to vote. However, the parties do provide a way for absentee voters to submit a resolution or seek to be a delegate. Check with your political party for more information.


Question, concern, or complaint about your caucus?

Unlike elections, which are run by local and state government election officials, precinct caucuses are run by political parties. Everything from site location to conducting preference ballot voting is the responsibility of the party. If you have questions, concerns or a complaint about your precinct caucus, please contact the party that held the caucus meeting.


Restriction on public meetings

So that all voters can attend the caucus, these groups cannot hold meetings after 6 p.m. on caucus day: local governments, colleges or universities, public schools, meetings at public school buildings and state public meetings. For more details, see 202A.19.


Right to time off work to attend a caucus or political convention

You have the right to take time off work to be at a precinct caucus or political party convention (if you’re a delegate or alternate). You must give your employer ten days’ written notice (See 202A.19, subd.2 and 202A.135).


Caucus accessibility

Major political parties must provide you an interpreter by request, if you are deaf, deafblind, or hard-of-hearing. If you are visually impaired, you also have the right to get written caucus materials ahead of time, by request (see 202A.155).