By Catherine Smith
The possibility of death and a charge of treason did not stop 39 men from signing the Constitution to create a democratic society; after 230 years, the democratic process in the United States continues with the upcoming Republican and Democratic precinct caucuses in Provo.
Every election year, each precinct prepares a place for voters to gather, generally a school or a home, and vote for candidates to be delegates for the upcoming conventions.
“[The candidates] each get up and say why they want to [be a delegate] and why,” said Jordan Garn, Republican organizer for precinct 11, south of campus. “People have the opportunity to ask them questions.”
The delegates elected in the precinct caucuses will then go on to vote for the candidates running for election for positions such as county attorney and county commissioner. The delegates act as a county Electoral College and can change the outcomes of elections as well as the candidates running.
“It”s important for [people] to realize, especially in a state with so many Republicans, the people elected in county and state convention most of the time get elected in the general election,” said Denise Bonnett, Republican organizer for precincts four and seven, south of campus.
Utah Sen. Curt Bramble (R-District 16) announced on an unofficial blog site that he would not be running against U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) this election. Bramble”s announcement changes the electoral race drastically, but the precinct caucuses could provide a new candidate to run against Cannon. Bramble could not be contacted before publication time.
Delegates elected in the precinct caucuses have some amount of control in the outcome of elections.
“Delegates are the unsung heroes of the process,” said Craig Axford, Democratic National Committee organization director of Utah. “They have an incredible influence on the outcome of elections. They decide who the party nominees are going to be.”
Jeff Buhman, a candidate for Utah County Attorney, said the caucuses are influential.
“This election will be one of the ones that will be determined at the caucuses,” Buhman said.
Buhman is running against long-time Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson and hopes to make changes to the County Attorney”s office.
“There”s a dire need to improve relationships and communication with our police agencies,” Buhman said. “There needs to be accountability with the administration with the County Attorney”s office. The Attorney”s office, in conjunction with the police, need to begin to fight the plague of heroin and methamphetamine in our county.”
Buhman said the best thing is to get out and get involved in the caucuses in order to influence in the community.
“Get out and vote,” Buhman said.
Students can participate in the caucuses in several different ways whether or not they are Utah residents.
“[Out-of-state] students can attend the meetings and witness what”s going on,” Axford said.
Students can find the location of their precinct caucus by visiting www.utahgop.org or www.utdemocrats.org.