- What is the difference between a caucus and a primary?
A primary is the process of submitting anonymous ballots at a polling location based on who is running for a particular office in that primary and is an individual act happening on a certain day- like a general election but with only the candidates of one party on the ballot. A caucus is a meeting in which voters sit down with their neighbors and discuss the various candidates of that particular party prior to casting votes. While a primary happens as an individual procedure, a caucus is a group act of all the members of your party in your neighborhood and county.
2.Why does the Wyoming Democratic Party use a caucus system rather than a ballot primary to allot delegates?
The Wyoming Democratic Party has a long history of allocating delegates using caucuses. The Wyoming Democratic Party believes that caucuses- meetings where voters sit down with their neighbors and discuss the various candidates prior to casting votes- encourage greater participation and involvement rather than casting a ballot alone.
- What is a county caucus?
This is the first step in Wyoming’s nominating process. The county caucus is your chance to help select Wyoming’s Democratic Presidential nominee. For people used to casting their vote quietly in a polling place or at home via absentee ballot, a caucus is a very different experience. In caucuses, people group together with other supporters of their candidates and speak on behalf of their candidates in the hope of both winning over undecided caucus goers as well as supporters of other candidates. At the end of the caucus, candidates are awarded delegates to the State Convention in proportion to the number of supporters. Delegates will be elected to attend the State Convention and folks can sign up to run as a delegate to the National Convention. The county caucus is also your opportunity to voice ideas for planks to your county platform, that may even get adopted to the State platform. Many counties also draw up resolutions to bring to state convention for Democrats across the state to vote on.
- Who can attend and participate in the county caucuses?
Any voter registered as a Democrat can participate in the caucuses taking place in the county they live in. Voters must be 18 by the time of the next election, be a resident of Wyoming and be registered as a Democrat 15 days prior to the convention- March 25th.
- The deadline to register to vote as a Democrat in order to participate in the county caucuses is March 25, 2016… but how do I register to vote?
You can register to vote at your county clerk’s office. You can register to vote at any point in time but in order to participate in your county caucus you must ensure that you are registered as a Democrat prior to March 25th.
- I am 17 now but I will be 18 and eligible to vote in November in the general election, can I participate in my county caucus?
Yes! You can pre-register with your county clerk by filling out the paperwork necessary to be a registered Democrat early and then when your birthday comes it will be processed and you will be a registered Democrat! Welcome!
Through this you will not only be eligible to participate in your county caucus but also eligible to become a delegate to the state and/or national conventions.
- What if I am unable to attend the county caucuses?
If an attendee is unable to attend their county caucus due to:
- Religious Observance
- Military Service
- Work Schedule
- Student studying abroad
then they may submit a surrogate form to the state party. These forms can be found as an attachment at the bottom of this page. For students studying abroad, please list work allowance as your reason and then explain that you are a student studying abroad.
- What is a delegate?
A delegate at the county level is the lucky individual chosen to represent their county to the state convention. This person represents the interests and perspective of their part of the state.
A delegate at the state level is the lucky individual chosen to represent their state to the national convention. The number of delegates at the county and state level are limited to be proportional based on the number of Democrats and the population of the area.
- How do I become a delegate to the Democratic National Convention?
In order to be a district-level delegate to the Democratic National Convention you would first need to be elected as your county’s delegate to the Democratic State Convention during the County Conventions on April 9th, 2016 beginning at 11:00 a.m. These state delegates will then meet at the Democratic State Convention on May 28th, 2016. State delegates will then meet in presidential preference caucuses and elect district level national delegates and alternates. In order to be an at-large delegate to the Democratic National Convention you do not need to be elected as a delegate prior to the Democratic State Convention.
- What is the difference between a district-level and at-large delegate to the Democratic National Convention?
In states with more than one congressional district they will elect delegates at a district-level from the county caucuses as well as at-large delegates from the state convention. However in Wyoming we have only one district and so the biggest difference is that the eight district-level delegates will include those who were previously elected as delegates at the county level but the at-large do not have to be elected at the county caucus level. The voting weight of these delegates at the Democratic National Convention do not differ.
- What is a Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO)?
PLEOs include big-city mayors, statewide elected officials, state legislative leaders, state legislators and other state, county and local elected officials and party leaders. PLEO’s have until 5 p.m. on April 28th to file a statement of candidacy and a signed pledge of support.
- How are PLEOs and at-large delegates and alternates selected?
The 2 PLEOs, 4 At-Large delegates and 2 At-Large Alternates will be selected at the State Convention May 28th, 2016.
- How many delegates does Wyoming send to the Democratic National Convention?
Wyoming will be sending 18 delegates and 2 alternates. 8 are District-Level delegates, 4 are unpledged party Leaders and elected officials, 2 are PLEOs, 3 are At-Large delegates with 2 alternates.
- How many delegates does my county send to the State Convention?
Each county is allotted a delegate based on the population of that county and on the proportion of votes that went to Democratic federal candidates in the last presidential election. Each county is guaranteed at least one population based delegate and one vote-share based delegate. Here is a breakdown of each county’s number of delegates to the Democratic State Convention.