REGIONAL — Maine’s voters are one of only a dozen or so states that select their presidential party delegates by caucus.
This year Republicans will caucus statewide on Saturday, March 5 and Democrats on Sunday, March 6.
According to the Maine League of Women Voters, unlike most states that use primary elections to nominate party candidates to run for the office of president of the United States, Maine chooses delegates to a party’s state convention during municipal caucuses.
Because Maine does not have a presidential primary, this is the only opportunity for voters to become involved in the process to elect their party’s presidential nominee.
The delegates selected during the caucuses are pledged to support a specific presidential candidate at the Maine Democratic Convention from May 6-7 in Portland and Maine Republican State Party Convention from April 21-23 in Bangor.
The statewide conventions are held to adopt a platform for the next general election, elect state and county officers and elect delegates to the national party conventions that will be held this summer and nominate presidential electors.
Only a dozen or so states use the caucus system.
Changes GOP caucus
This year, the Maine GOP announced it changed its caucus process to give Maine Republicans more prominence in the national process and to give each caucus voter a greater voice at the state convention.
For the first time, all caucus voting will be held on the same day – March 5 – which Maine GOP is calling “Super Saturday.” Unlike previous years, this year, state delegates are bound by local caucus results, according to Maine GOP officials.
Under the new Maine GOP caucus rules, if any of the candidates win 50 percent or more of the total caucus votes that candidate will be awarded all 23 delegate votes from Maine at the national convention. This “winner-take-all” procedure is new.
If no candidate gains more than 50 percent of the votes during March caucusing, delegate votes at the national convention will be awarded based on a formula that apportions votes based on the percent received.
A candidate must win at least 10 percent of the vote to receive any delegate votes from Maine at the national convention in July.
The Maine Democratic Party will caucus on Sunday, March 6, at various locations and times throughout the day.
Town clerks will be at the caucus locations to enroll new and unenrolled voters at least one hour prior to the schedule start of the caucus, said Oxford County Democratic Party Chair Cathy Newell.
The following are the times , locations and convener for each caucus. Others can be found at the www.oxforddems.org/.
Buckfield, 3 p.m., Buckfield Municipal Building, 34 Turner St., Maida Demers-Dobson
Hartford, 1 p.m., Hartford Town Hall, 1196 Main St., Anita Lewis and Lennie Eichman
Harrison, 1 p.m., Harrison Fire Station, 34 School St., Sheila Rollins
Hebron, 2 p.m., Hebron Station School, 884 Station Road, Bonnie Trundy
Greenwood, 3 p.m., Telstar High School, 284 Walkers Mill Road, Cathy Newell
Norway, 2 p.m., Norway Town Office, 19 Danforth St., Denise Whitley and Barry Allen
Otisfield, 1 p.m., Otisfield Town Office, 403 State Route 121, Maureen Mooney-Howard
Oxford, 2 p.m., Oxford Town Office, 85 Pleasant St., Dan and Roberta O’Neill
Paris, 1 p.m., Paris Town Office, 33 Market Square, John Jenness
West Paris, 3 p.m., West Paris Town Office, 25 Kingsbury St., Rodney Abbott
Waterford, 4 p.m., Waterford Town Office, 366 Valley Road, Skipp Green
The Maine GOP will caucus at various locations throughout the state on Saturday, March 5. Under Maine GOP rules, all caucuses must be held on March 5 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., which simply means all caucuses must be completed between this time frame statewide, said Joe Turcotte, Maine GOP political director.
All 37 towns in Oxford County including Norway, Oxford Paris, Waterford, Otisfield, Sumner, Hebron, Buckfield, Hartford, Greenwood and West Paris,will meet at Telstar Regional High School, 284 Walkers Mill Road, Bethel, beginning March 5 at 11:30 a.m. when doors open and registration of new or unenrolled voters begins.
At 1 p.m. voter registration ends, the municipal organizational caucuses begin and three hours open to cast a ballot for preferred presidential candidates.
“Presidential” speeches begin at 2 p.m., for those voters who want to learn more about a candidate, followed by other speakers and the conclusion of unfinished caucus business at 3 p.m.
“While we have built a system to ensure every Republican, especially young families and those with tight schedules, have a chance to vote in the presidential race, we strongly encourage Republicans to listen to speeches from the presidential campaigns, and visit with our many wonderful Republican candidates and committees at the caucus sites before casting their [residential ballots,” said Maine GOP Chairman Rick Bennett in a statement released Tuesday, Feb. 16.
At 4 p.m. the presidential voting closes and ballots are counted.
Caucus participants will also be able to meet with other Republicans running for office, sign petitions to help candidates qualify for the ballot, and hear speeches from Republicans at the local, state and federal level.
A photo ID is required to vote in the presidential nominating caucus.
Harrison voters in Cumberland County will be voting at Greely Middle School, 351 Tuttle Road, Cumberland. Doors will open at 8 a.m. with voter registration continuing through 9:30 a.m. when the caucus and presidential voting begins.
At 10:30 a.m. speeches will begin for presidential candidates followed by speeches from other speakers and completion of any unfinished caucus business.
At 12:30 p.m. voting ends and ballots are counted.
The sites and schedules for Republican Party caucuses, with a listing of municipalities participating at each site, is available at mainegop.com/caucus.
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