By Joy Simmons
Some BYU students put counsel from the First Presidency into action at the caucuses on Monday, March 25, while other students decided political involvement could wait.
“I believe this is one of the most important things students can do to influence how things happen politically in the state,” said Andy Wilson, 23, a senior from San Diego Calif., majoring in political science.
Wilson is the State Vice Chair of College Democrats.
Although Democrats and Republicans do not agree very often, they do agree that political involvement is a must.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently released a letter from the First Presidency encouraging members to attend Monday”s neighborhood caucuses.
“While the church does not endorse political candidates, platforms or parties, members are urged to be full participants in political, governmental, and community affairs,” said Dale Bills, spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ.
He said caucuses are the most fundamental grassroots level of political involvement.
Some students, however, are not convinced.
“It just seems like a waste of time,” said Kelly Brooks, 22, a senior from Salt Lake City, majoring in fine arts.
She said she is not into politics, but may consider getting more involved when she has more time.
However, Wilson said by getting involved, people can change a party”s platform by electing people who have the same beliefs they do.
“If nothing else, attending a caucus is a civics lesson,” said BYU student Miriam Harmer, 24, a senior from Bountiful, Davis County, majoring in history who is also the secretary of the Utah Republican Party.
Harmer attended her first caucus when she was 18 years old. She said she participates because the United States is a free country and because the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ teaches that if we don”t fight to preserve that freedom, we won”t have the blessings of living in a free country.
Both Republican and Democratic Parties held respective caucuses. They are small meetings of people from a neighborhood or precinct. Each precinct elects state delegates and county delegates who hold two-year terms, and are responsible for voting for candidates at state party conventions, which will take place in June.
Although the delegates have been chosen, students can still attend party conventions and vote in primary elections – as long as they are registered to vote in Utah.