While Stevens County voters won't receive a ballot for the Presidential primary this year, the caucus system is available to collect public input.
Washingtonians will not be able to take part in the Presidential Primary frenzy this spring because of a 2011 legislative decision to axe the annual rite to save a purported $10 million in the state budget. The cancellation was proposed through Senate Bill 5119 that expires in 2013, leaving a Presidential primary an option in 2016.
In the meantime, the local political parties will be offering caucus meetings to collect public opinion on a 2012 Presidential candidate.
The caucus process allows registered voters to elect delegates (or representatives) to attend the Republican and Democrat county conventions where delegates will then be elected to attend the state conÂ¬ventions. The state conventions will then elect the final delegates to attend the respective national party conventions to officially nominate a candidate for President.
The county caucuses will also collect feedback on the county â€śplatform,â€ť or values statement, to embody the opinions and convictions of those within the local party. County platforms are then conveyed to the state political parties where they help shape the state platform and eventually the national party platforms.
Local caucus dates and locations
To determine which caucus they should attend, registered voters must first decide which party they support (Republican or Democrat) and then determine which county precinct they are in. The precinct a voter resides in will determine which caucus the voter should attend.
A map of the 55-county precincts is available through the Stevens County Auditorâ€™s office. Precinct information can also be obtained by calling the Stevens County Elections Department at 684-7514 and providing voter information or an address.
The Stevens County Republican party caucuses will be held on March 3 at 10 a.m. at all locations. Locations are as follows:
Kettle Falls High School, Home Economics room, for precincts: Kelly Hill, Kettle Falls 1 & 2, Meyers Falls 1& 2, Orin 1 & 2, First Thought.
Fort Colville Grange for precincts: Northport, Columbia, Onion Creek, Arden 1 & 2, Colville 1,2,3,4,5,6 & 7, Colville Valley, Echo Evens, Marcus, Mill Creek & Narcisse.
GreenwoodGrange/Hunters for precincts: Hunters & Daisy.
Chewelah Baptist Church for precincts: - Addy, Chewelah 1,2,3, Quartzite 1& 2, Summit, Waitts Lake,Valley 1.
Springdale Community Church for precincts: Camas, Clayton 1 & 2, Loon Lake 1 & 2, Springdale,Valley 2, Walkers Prairie.
Lakeside Middle School for precincts: Williams Valley, Tum Tum 1,2,3,4,5.
The Republican caucuses will start 10 a.m. sharp. Attendees are asked to arrive at least 45 minutes early to register. Late arrivals will not be recognized.
Along with electing delegates to attend the Stevens County Republican convention on March 24 at Valley School, the Republican caucuses will also conduct a â€śstraw pollâ€ť where attendees can vote for their presidential preference.
The â€śstraw pollâ€ť votes from each caucus location will be forwarded to the state Republican Party and released to the media after the county caucuses are completed. The results of the straw poll are non-binding and the delegate process will still be used to determine the nominee at the state and national level, according to Stevens County Republican Central Committee Chair Perky Osborne.
The Washington State Republican convention is planned for June 2 in Tacoma.
For more information about the Republican caucuses, contact Osborne at 937-2257. Information can also be found on the Stevens County RepubÂ¬lican website: www.stevenscountyrepublicans.com
The Stevens County Democrats will be caucusing on April 15 with times and dates to be announced, according to local chair, Bob Esvelt.
At the Democrat caucuses, delegates will be elected to go to the county convention on April 29. From the county convention, delegates will be elected to attend the state conÂ¬vention on June 2 and 3 in SeÂ¬attle.
Caucuses will also be held for the Seventh Legislative District on April 28 and in the Fifth Congressional District on May 20.
At the state convention, delegates will be elected to attend the Democrat National Convention.
The Stevens County Democrat caucuses will also collect input in regards to the county platform that will then help to influence the platform for the Washington State Democrats.
Esvelt said more information about the county caucuses will be released in the coming weeks.
Information about the Stevens County Democrat party is also available on www.stevenscountydemocrats.com or by calling Esvelt at 738-6530.