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Precinct Caucus Planning Instructions

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Precinct Caucus Planning Instructions Powered By Docstoc
					                     Precinct Caucus Planning Guide
                          For County Unit and Senate District Chairs
                          Caucus Night - Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Introduction...............................................................................................................................................2
Location .....................................................................................................................................................2
      Location Reporting – Due November 15 ............................................................................................ 2
      Location Considerations ..................................................................................................................... 2

Convenors .................................................................................................................................................3
      Convenor Selection and Reporting .................................................................................................... 3
      Convenor Training ................................................................................................................................ 3
      Convenor packets ................................................................................................................................ 4

Documents for the District ...................................................................................................................5
      Signage .................................................................................................................................................. 5
      Caucus Advertising .............................................................................................................................. 5

Documents for each Caucus...............................................................................................................6
      Sign-in sheets ....................................................................................................................................... 6
      Precinct Convenor/Caucus Chair Instruction Form.......................................................................... 6
      Map of Precinct Boundaries ................................................................................................................ 6
      2010-2011 Call ....................................................................................................................................... 6
      Constitution and Bylaws ...................................................................................................................... 6
      DFL Platform ......................................................................................................................................... 6
      Fundraising Envelopes ........................................................................................................................ 6
      Volunteer and Election Judge Sign up sheets .................................................................................. 6
      Attendee Handouts ............................................................................................................................... 7
       Preference Ballot ................................................................................................................................. 8
      Local Unit Procedures ......................................................................................................................... 9

Caucus Night Procedures ................................................................................................................. 10
      Distribution and Collection of Materials from each Precinct ......................................................... 10
      Preference Ballot ............................................................................................................................... 10
      Reporting to State DFL ...................................................................................................................... 11
Introduction
   Whether you’ve planned many caucuses, or this is your first, there are lots of things to consider. This
   manual is intended to function both as a checklist—using the table of contents, and to provide more
   in-depth information and suggestions about the process. It lists general guidelines for caucus
   planning, including some local variations depending on the size and structure of local units. Use the
   methods that work best for your unit, taking into account local considerations, history, and needs.

   Although we don’t expect the huge turnout we saw in 2010, the 2010 caucuses may still draw a much
   larger turnout than we saw in 2006, so plan accordingly.

Location
  Location Reporting – Due November 15
     Caucus locations should be identified as soon as possible!

     Report caucus locations to the Minnesota DFL Party Affairs office no later than November 15, 2009.
     You can download a spreadsheet for your county unit at http://dflers.org/caucus/ The spreadsheets
     also include the delegate allocations for each precinct.

  Location Considerations
     Note that it is preferable to hold a caucus within the precinct if feasible (note page 1 of the DFL
     Official Call, as well as Minnesota statutes 202A.15 and 202A.156).

     Accessibility
           Consider whether you will be using
                    One centralized location
                    One location for each precinct
                    Multiple locations within a unit
           If you use multiple locations, be sure to be very clear in your advertisements, invitations, and flyers,
           which precincts will convene at which locations
           If using one location
                    For geographically large areas, be sure the location is centrally-located or near a transportation
                     hub
                    For large turn-out areas, be sure the location has multiple large break-out rooms, as many
                     precincts will not fit into standard classroom sizes
                    Disability accessibility considerations
           Locations must be fully handicapped accessible. While most public buildings are required to be so
           by code, many are not actually as accessible as they appear on paper
           If in doubt, do a personal tour before booking the location. Look for:
                    Sufficient handicapped parking spaces
                    Automatic door openers on at least one entrance or low push-bars
                    Restrooms with wide aisles and doors
                    Room for all precincts to be in locations reachable without stairs
    Site Arrangement
         A large entryway or common area is desirable for sign-in, so that attendees are not confined to a
         small area if they have to wait in line for help
         An easily understandable floor plan, and maps of the building, are desirable
         If the location is more complex, provide runners who have been given a tour beforehand
         Consider handing out individual building maps, marked with precinct and room numbers, to people
         as they enter the building
         If precincts are likely to be either very small, or too big for a normal classroom, it is often possible to
         have multiple precincts meet in large common areas such as cafeterias and auditoriums
         If you have multiple locations, be sure you have a site coordinator who can handle each site


Convenors
  Convenor Selection and Reporting
    Please identify caucus convenors as soon as possible, and report to field coordinators and party
    affairs their names as well as contact information. Keep a copy of this information for yourself.

    Caucus convenors are often, but not necessarily, the precinct chairs. Each precinct caucus should
    have its own convenor.

    Things to keep in mind for convenor selection:
                    Are they comfortable being in front of a group
                    Can they be at the site on time – by 6:00 p.m.
                    Can they get to a training
                    Let them know they don’t have to be caucus chair, but can be if they want to

  Convenor Training
         Plan to have at least one in-person training for caucus convenors
         If they cannot attend training, try to sit down one-on-one with as many convenors as possible.
         If you absolutely cannot meet with every convenor, be sure you have written materials for each
         convenor who cannot attend the training.

    Training Outline
         Be sure each convenor knows they are representing the Minnesota DFL party to their precinct
         Caucus convenors must arrive early to set up their sites. Convenors should each find additional
         volunteers from their precinct to help with registration, the preference ballot, resolutions etc.
         Caucus timeline is as follows:
                      6:00 pm set up
                      6:30 registration and balloting begin
                      7:00 time-certain for convening caucus
                      8:00 caucus must not close before this time
         Convenors should listen to their caucus, be friendly, and keep things moving on task. Have caucus
         members introduce themselves if caucus size permits.
         Go through the convenor/chair instructions from start to finish during training.
         Be sure they understand each portion of the instructions.
                      Run through the agenda, including the description of a Precinct Chair’s responsibilities and the
                       sample rules
         Resolution instructions
                      Resolutions have to be submitted on the Minnesota DFL Resolution Form
                      All resolutions must indicate whether they have passed or failed on the Minnesota DFL

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                 Resolution Form they are submitted on.
       Call instructions
                Explain the Call to convenors
                Run through the caucus section, on pages 1-3 of the 2010-2011 Official Call
        Preference Ballot
                Balloting needs to be accurate and run like an election
                Be sure to go through attached preference ballot procedures with all convenors
                Balloting shall begin when registration opens at 6:30 p.m., and must remain open at least until
                 8:00 p.m.
                Only ballots cast for candidates officially registered for the preference ballot will be counted.
                A caucus should not have more ballots than they have members signed in, so be sure convenors
                 are double-checking that all caucus attendees are signed in before balloting ends.
       Be sure convenors have local information and understand the importance of each piece. Information
       can include:
                Local elections
                Party unit elections
                Convention committee elections
                Some units select these at caucuses, others appoint them differently. Be sure that everyone
                 knows how the unit is handling these, and have information about committee meetings available
                 at the precinct caucus.
       Let convenors know how they will pick up packets and materials
       Remind convenors where to drop off materials after caucuses

Convenor packets
  Convenor packets should be handed out either at convenor trainings or before precinct caucuses so
  that convenors have time to become familiar with them

  They should include all copies of the documents convenors will need for their caucuses




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Documents for the District
  Signage
    Door Signs
         Main entrances
         Each room
                    Precinct Name (should be very prominent)
                    Precinct Map

    Restroom signs
         In main corridors
         At main entrances
         Point directions to nearest accessible restrooms

    Main reception
         Post signs with precinct caucus room numbers
         Include map of building if it has an intricate layout
         Post map showing which precincts are caucusing at the location
         Post signs to restroom locations

  Caucus Advertising
    Alert local media to caucus locations and times
         Contact Communications Director Kristin Sosanie for your Precinct Caucus Media Kit
         (651-251-6315 or ksosanie@dfl.org)

    Precinct caucus brochures
         The State DFL can provide precinct caucus brochures for handing out before caucuses
         Sample brochures can be found in county unit caucus kits or online at www.dflers.org/caucus
         The brochure can be distributed in different venues
                    Precinct meetings
                    Local coffee houses and gathering spots
                    Posted on public bulletin boards
         Finding local media representatives
                    The State DFL can help find local media outlets that cover your area
                    Don’t forget to contact all neighborhood newspapers, radio stations, television stations, and blogs
                     that cover your area

    DFL Links Meetings
         If you have a local DFL Links meeting, or something similar, ensure that upcoming caucuses are
         discussed
         These meetings provide a good opportunity to do general public caucus training

    Precinct Caucus Yard Signs
         Yard signs have been used by many districts to let everyone in the precinct know when and where
         caucuses will be held




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Documents for each Caucus
  Sign-in sheets
     Sign in sheets will be printed from the DFL’s VoteBuilder database, using criteria to identify likely
     caucus attendees.

     Sign in sheets will include name of voter, address, barcode, and a space to identify delegate or
     alternate out of the caucus
           There will also be blank sheets for people who come to the caucus who are not on the printed sheet
           Not being on the printed sheet DOES NOT MEAN that an attendee is in the wrong caucus or
           ineligible

     Be sure to print out enough copies of the blank sheets for significant amounts of new turn-out and
     voters who have moved

     Remind convenors that caucus attendees who have not signed in on the sheet or sent a letter cannot
     participate in the preference ballot, the caucus or be elected as a delegate to the next convention
     level

  Precinct Convenor/Caucus Chair Instruction Form
     A copy of this will be provided to each unit

     Make copies and place one in each convenor packet

     This is a state-standard form, and may not include some local information

     If the instruction form does not include information on local unit practices, such as electing
     convention committee members or electing one set of delegates for county and one for city
     conventions, supplementary materials should be prepared for the convenors

  Map of Precinct Boundaries
     Can be found at: http://www.gis.leg.mn/html/precincts.htm

  2010-2011 DFL Official Call
     Hand out one per precinct

     Used for clarifying caucus rules and rules for conventions

  DFL Constitution and Bylaws
     Hand out one per precinct

     Used for clarifying caucus rules and rules for conventions

  DFL Platform
     Hand out one per precinct

  Political Contribution Refund Program Letters and Envelopes
     Distribute these envelopes in the convenor packets according to estimated turnout

  Volunteer and Election Judge Sign-up



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  How each unit gathers volunteer information may differ, depending on whether the unit manages
  volunteer activities in VoteBuilder or some other system.

  Election Judge information should be recorded on the caucus registration forms when attendees
  sign in. These Election Judge volunteers will be entered along with other caucus data.

Attendee Handouts
  Estimating Expected Attendance
        Enough copies of each handouts should be made and placed in convenor packets for expected
        turnout in each precinct
        If meeting in a central location, have extra handouts available at a central desk in case of much
        higher attendance than expected

  Platform – Minnesota DFL Resolution Form
        Provide multiple copies for each caucus
        Remind convenors that resolutions need to be submitted on the Minnesota DFL Resolution Form
        Results of voting on resolutions must be recorded on the Minnesota DFL Resolution Form

  Precinct Agenda
        This handout is standard across the state.
        Revise the handout if necessary to accommodate local needs.
                 Local items can be added to the agenda
                 Standard agenda items cannot be removed or altered.

  Sample Rules for Precincts
        This handout includes sample rules for precincts
        Caucus attendees will have to vote on these rules to make them valid for each caucus, and may vote
        to amend the rules

  Petition Nominee Letters (Absentee Letters)
        If your unit has received any petition nominee letters in advance, please be sure to include these in
        the materials provided to caucus convenors. Convenors will need these letters for use on caucus
        night during the election of delegates.
        People who cannot attend their precinct caucuses can submit letters indicating their willingness to
        serve as delegates or alternates to the county unit and senate district conventions (or other local
        conventions).
        If a precinct elects delegates using the subcaucus system, petition nominees will only be nominated
        for a subcaucus of their written choice.
        The names of petition nominees should be placed in nomination along with all other names of
        caucus attendees. They must be elected through the same process as any other delegate or
        alternate.
        Petition nominees cannot vote on any issue addressed at the caucus, and should not be counted for
        the purposes of delegate allocation.

  Local information on events or other activities
        If your local party unit has a regular meeting schedule, a DFL Links group, a political discussion
        group, or some other activity to which you can invite caucus attendees, be sure to provide a
        brochure or handout for attendees to take home with them.




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Preference Ballot
  The Minnesota DFL will conduct a Preference Ballot at the 2010 precinct caucuses

  It is a statewide binding ballot for preference, designed to replace a primary

  Results must be reported immediately to the Secretary of State’s office, which will be tabulating
  results and reporting them on their web site (you can watch as the results come in on caucus night)

  Ballots and instructions may not be handed out with the rest of the packet information
        The official roster of eligible candidates will not be complete until January, so that information will
        need to be confirmed before precinct caucus night

  Ballot duplication is the responsibility of the County Unit chair. Be sure to have extra ballots available

  Ballots
        Blank ballots should be provided by the County Unit/Senate District or the precinct convenor.
        Be sure to provide sufficient ballots for all attendees
        Ballots are given to attendees at sign-in
                  Ballots should only be given to attendees who will be 18 at the time of the general election in the
                   fall – November 8
                  Check eligibility at sign-in
        Voting
                  Attendees legibly print the name of their candidate on one side of the ballot
                  Only candidates who are included on the official list of Preference Ballot nominees (or
                   Uncommitted status) should be counted.

  Ballot box or collection envelope
        An envelope or ballot box should be provided to each precinct for delegates to place completed
        ballots
        Clearly label each ballot box with precinct name if more than one precinct is meeting in the same
        room. You must have one ballot box per precinct.
        Tellers, elected by the caucus, tally the ballots in the caucus room at 8:00 p.m., unless people are
        still registering for the caucus.
        After ballots are counted, tellers write the tally on the outside of the official DFL Preference Ballot
        envelope. The tellers sign the front of the envelope to certify the tally
                  Tellers must announce the tally to the caucus upon completion of tally
                  The caucus chair seals the envelope with the ballots in it, and signs over the seal
                  DFL Preference Ballot envelope should be returned to the County Unit Chair or their
                   representative immediately for reporting
                        Note that some units may delegate the reporting of these results to each precinct, although many will
                         collect them by unit and report them centrally. Unit chairs should determine how their units will handle
                         reporting, and caucus convenors should confirm that before caucus night.

  Instructions
        Caucus elects 2 tellers to count the ballots
        Only candidates named on the official DFL Preference Ballot report or “Uncommitted” are allowed
        Ballots that are not filled out or which have a write-in candidate are considered spoiled.
        The number of ballots cast must be equal to or less than the number of eligible voters signed in at
        the precinct caucus




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Local Unit Procedures
  If your local unit has special procedures or needs, they should include these instructions in the
  packet and in the materials listed above
        Check with your local unit to confirm whether there are local items that should be handled by the
        precinct caucus

  Check with city and county units in years when they will be holding elections, to see if they have any
  special procedures for the caucus

  Local unit procedures can be listed separately or as part of an appended version of the agenda
  provided by the Minnesota DFL.

  Some common examples of local unit procedures:
        Local delegate elections
        Volunteer forms
        Information about upcoming events
        Calls to unit conventions
                 Units with very short turn-around times before the convention sometimes provide a call at the
                  caucus, to be provided to elected delegates
                 If a unit does this, it should be noted on the call that the delegation may change due to
                  credentials challenges and clean-up
        Convention committee elections
                 Some units provide a convention committee sign-up form to pass around. Elections are held only
                  if multiple people are interested in the same spot; otherwise, the slate can be elected by a voice
                  vote of the caucus attendees.
                 If, however, the caucus has adjourned the convenor may choose to simply include a list of
                  volunteers with their packet
                 In that case, the local unit should have each committee vote to accept members on that sheet
                 Convention committee members help plan arrangements, decide on rules, screen candidates,
                  and prepare credentials reports. They should be composed of either delegates or alternates to
                  the unit convention.
                         Each convention committee can have a certain number of delegates and alternates to the committee,
                          as decided by the local unit in accordance with the constitution.
                         Alternates to the convention can be elected as delegates to the convention committee.
                         If there are multiple candidates interested in convention committee slots, each should be given a few
                          minutes to give a candidacy statement, then the caucus should vote.
                 Convention Committee meeting notices should be prepared for distribution at the precinct
                  caucus. Any committee members elected at the caucus should have information about when
                  their committees will meet before they leave.




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Caucus Night Procedures
  Distribution and Collection of Materials from each Precinct
     Arrange with precinct caucus convenors to deliver all materials to them before the caucus.

     Arrange with precinct caucus convenors where to have materials delivered at the end of the night.
     You should have contact information for each convenor.

     Think ahead to your unit conventions

     Collect any information that does not go to the state DFL
           Convention committee lists
           Local volunteer forms or sheets

     If you know who will be involved in planning the convention, be sure they are kept in the loop for
     things like data entry, delegate counts, and complaints that might turn in to credentials challenges

  Preference Ballot
     Opening and Closing Times
           Voting is open from 6:30-8:00
           Ballots are tallied at 8:00, unless people are still registering for the caucus. Ballots should be tallied
           as soon afterwards as possible.

     Reporting procedures
           Collected envelopes are sent to the State DFL Headquarters for final tallying
           The caucus chair reads out the results for their caucus at the end of the balloting period




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  Reporting to State DFL
    In 2010, the Minnesota DFL is again using VoteBuilder for reporting caucus attendees and county
    unit delegates. This system is designed to use technology coupled with local knowledge to
    significantly streamline the gathering of data, to improve the quality of that data, and to share that
    data in a manner that ensures increased fairness for campaigns and party units.
          This process will require additional training on the local level, although each party unit can
          determine the best manner in which it will manage the information using this new system.
          Please be sure to work with your Field Director or the State DFL Office to ensure that your unit
          knows how it will handle the reporting of caucus attendance and delegate elections.

    Original copy of caucus registration sheets
          Local units can now retain the original sign-in sheets for your local credentials committee, as long
          as the information is entered into the VoteBuilder system immediately after caucuses.
          Once a local unit is done using them, sign-in sheets should be sent to the State DFL for archiving
          Each unit should determine how caucus attendee information should be provided to precinct chairs
                    Some precinct chairs prefer to have copies of the sign-in sheets for their records, for use in
                     precinct caucus activities
                    Some precinct chairs will prefer to copy down the names from the sign-in sheet or take them to
                     make copies themselves before turning in the sheets
                    Others will request a copy of their precinct’s sign-in sheets after they have been entered into
                     VoteBuilder
          Plan beforehand when you want the sign-in sheets returned, and communicate this to precinct
          chairs as well as to caucus convenors
                    If precinct chairs are taking original sheets to copy before turning them in, be sure they have a
                     deadline to get sheets back that is consistent with having all data entry done and credentials
                     settled before the unit conventions DFL VoteBuilder software can provide a quick, accurate list of
                     all caucus attendees per precinct, and precinct chairs may prefer to have access to this or be
                     given a print-out of it to copying and doing the data entry themselves

    Statewide Preference Ballot envelope
          Reporting of Preference Ballot results must be done on precinct caucus night.
          Results will be reported to the Secretary of State’s office, either through the internet or over the
          phone. Be sure that you know who will report the results to the Secretary of State.
          After results are reported on caucus night to the Secretary of State, return the Preference Ballot tally
          envelopes, with ballots sealed inside, to the State DFL:
                    Minnesota DFL Party
                     255 Plato Blvd E
                     St Paul, MN 55107-1623


For any questions about Precinct Caucuses, please contact the
State DFL office at 1-800-999-7457 or 651-293-1200.




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