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The Maine Caucuses

as explained by Rita Moran, Kennebec County Chair of the Democratic Party

As active Democrats you will no doubt get lots of questions about our March 6th caucuses. The information below should help you answer those questions. Feel free to forward to me [chair@kennebecdems.org] any other questions and concerns (except those about the best place to relocate if Donald Trump moves to the White House).

Our caucus conveners are busy making plans. A list with information about all our caucuses will be posted on our website as soon as possible. For your future planning, the Democratic State Convention will be in Portland on Friday, May 7th and Saturday, May 8th. Yes, that's Mothers Day weekend. No, it was not my idea.


Feelin' the Bern?

Ready for Hillary?

But not sure how The Maine Caucuses work? We've got answers to your questions.

What are The Maine Caucuses?

The caucuses are different from a primary, they don't occur in the voting booth, but don't worry they're easy to get the hang of.

The Maine Caucuses are gatherings of neighbors in the New England tradition of town meetings. The Maine Democratic Party, with the help of your local Democratic county and municipal committees, organizes caucuses to begin the process of declaring Mainers' preference for the Presidential nominee and the party building work to elect Democrats up and down the ticket in November.

Maine will be the first state to weigh in on the contest after Super Tuesday. It should still very much be anybody's race when the Democratic Presidential Primary comes through Maine. The more people who turnout for your candidate, the more delegates to the state convention your candidate will get.

Who can participate in the caucuses?

Anyone who is eligible to vote in the State of Maine and will be at least 18 years of age on Election Day, November 8, 2016, may participate in The Maine Caucuses on Sunday, March 6, 2016.

To participate in the Democratic caucus, you must be a registered Democrat.

Wait, I'm not currently a registered Democrat, does that mean I can't caucus?

It's not too late for you, but there is one deadline you should be aware of.

If you are currently registered as a Green Independent or a Republican …

You must re-register to vote and enroll in the Democratic Party by Friday, February 19, 2016.

If you are currently unregistered or unenrolled in a political party (a.k.a. an Independent) …

You may same-day register/re-register as a Democratic at your municipal caucus.

The Maine Democratic Party recommends, if able, you register/re-register at your town hall in advance of March 6th. In high turnout years as is expected be true of 2016, large volumes of caucus participants needing to same-day register/re-register has resulted in long lines and prevented caucus proceedings from starting on time.

Where and when are the caucuses held?

The Maine Caucuses will take place on Sunday, March 6, 2016, between 1 and 8pm. Each municipality holds its own caucus at a public place (e.g., town hall, a school, community center, or church.)

You can find your caucus location by visiting our website: www.mainedems.org.

Help! I can't attend my caucus in person on March 6th.

No worries, you can cast an absentee ballot to show your support for your candidate and participate in The Maine Caucuses. You can request an absentee ballot online: www.mainedems.org/caucusabsentee.

Absentee participants will be able to indicate their desire to be elected as a delegate to State Convention. But by not attending the caucus in person, you will be unable to change your presidential preference, or vote for delegates, alternates, or party officers.

All absentee ballots must be received by the Maine Democratic Party on March 2, 2016 in order to be counted.

What happens at my municipal caucus?

Once you've signed in, the convener of your municipal/precinct convener of your caucus will welcome everyone, explain the caucus rules and process, and conduct required Party business.

THEN … the moment everyone's been waiting for:

Attendees will divide up into groups based upon Presidential preference (i.e., supporters of Secretary Clinton will gather in one corner of the room, supports of Governor O'Malley in another corner, supporters of Senator Sanders in another, and those who wish to remain uncommitted in the other).

Based on the results of the presidential preferences, the allocated number of delegates for that caucus will be divided proportionally. (If, at that point, your preference did not get enough support to warrant a delegate to the state convention, you will have the opportunity to change your support to another candidate. This is optional, and totally your choice.)

Once the delegates have been allocated to each preference group, each group will then elect the appropriate number of delegates to the state convention.

Is that it? The Maine Caucuses are also Maine Democrats' first major organizing opportunity of the 2016 campaigns, and despite our passionate support for our respective candidates, we are all Democrats at the end of the day. At your caucus, you'll also elect municipal Democratic Party committee leadership, who will be responsible for leading party building efforts and working to elect Democrats at the local level.

What are these "delegates" you keep mentioning? Can I become one?

Delegates to the State Convention (elected at the municipal caucuses) will elect Maine's delegates to the National Convention. Any caucus participate (absentee, too) may stand for election as a delegate to the State Convention ― a balance of female and male delegates must be achieved for each candidate within each municipality.

To qualify as a candidate for National Convention delegate you must present a petition to the Maine Democratic Party no later than April 22, 2016. Petitions and complete delegate information will be available by Feb 5, 2016.

How is the winner of The Maine Caucuses determined?

On Caucus Day, Mainers across the state will elect delegates to the State Convention from their municipalities. Your caucus convener will report the results from your municipal caucus to the Maine Democratic Party and the winner of the day will be the candidate who accrues the most delegates statewide.

What's New?

Working on Spring MVC as time allows (sharing my time with the Bernie Sanders for President movement and keeping legacy systems alive). I am finding Spring to be a lot of fun, but also quite a challenge (especially the development environment)! I would like to say that I have much better luck with the material from Richard Chesterwood and John Purcell using Spring 3 than I am having with the newer courses I am taking (STS notwithstanding) using Spring 4. Finally have an actual assignment and colleagues to help work through the issues. Very refreshing to work with younger people with good energy and a willingness to share their skills.

Bootstrapping the Site

Started to upgrade the style of my web site (about 2 years ago, it always takes longer than you think) to use Bootstrap, a great tool from Twitter. I have not made a lot of progress because there are so many other priorities that come first: decided to keep working and defer retirement a while longer.