Republicans to caucus on March 6
In July 2011, the Idaho State Republican Party put in place a new process to determine the selection of the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention.
The new process is a caucus system. The Idaho Republican Caucus is scheduled on Super Tuesday, March 6. The caucus is scheduled in each county.
In the past, Idaho has had a presidential preference primary at the same time state and local candidates were nominated in May, said Dan Cravens, secretary of the Bingham County Republican Central Committee. Unfortunately, by May of most Presidential election years, the nominee of the Republican Party was a foregone conclusion.
Every Bingham County resident who is a Republican or unaffiliated can vote in the caucus. Bingham County Republican voters may choose to attend any of the four caucus sites regardless of where they live in the county.
Caucus sites are:
· In Blackfoot at the Blackfoot High School old gymnasium
· In Thomas at Snake River High School
· In Shelley in the Shelley High School gymnasium
· In Aberdeen at the American Legion Hall
If a person has not previously registered as a Republican, he/she will have a decision to make, said Robert Butler, Caucus chair at Shelley. To participate in the Republican caucus, each elector must be registered as a Republican.
Registration will be available on the site of the caucus. A form can be downloaded and printed from the website: www.co.bingham.id.us/clerk/elections.html . Voters can also visit the Bingham County Clerk’s office in the courthouse in Blackfoot to pick up a form.
Those who are 17 years old, and who will 18 at the time of the general election, may participate fully in the caucus voting if they register to vote and declare themselves to be Republicans, said Cravens.
At each caucus site, doors will open between 5 and 5:30 p.m. on March 6 to allow people to register. If people are standing in line at 7 p.m., they will be allowed into the building. The doors will then be closed after which the caucus will begin.
In Shelley, after the presentation of the colors, “we will get down to the business of the caucus,” Butler said.
No other business besides the voting for the Presidential candidates will be considered.
An official representative of each candidate will be allowed two minutes to speak, Butler said.
There are five Republican presidential candidates registered in Idaho. Each paid the Idaho Central Committee a $1,000 fee to campaign.
The presidential candidates are Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Buddy Romer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Electors will vote in a curtained area to assure a secret ballot, Butler said. After the votes are counted, the results of the caucus will be phoned into the Blackfoot location.
After the votes from the four caucus sites are tabulated, the chairman of the Bingham County Central Committee, Scott Reese, will let each caucus site know if a second round of balloting is needed.
Idaho is a winner take all state, meaning, on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention, all 32 delegates are committed to vote for the person who won the Idaho caucus.
“I’m really excited about the caucus,” Butler said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for Idaho because it puts us in a position to be part of the decision process; it gives us a vote.
“Candidates are campaigning hard to get the Idaho vote,” he said.
“With Idaho’s primary in May, we haven’t really had a choice because, for the most part, the candidate was decided before Idaho voted,” Butler said.
“We are working to make it a fun event; we are committed to supporting our selected candidate,” said Butler.
In Shelley, Butler anticipates the caucus to last about one hour.