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OPINION: Caucus FAQs

by BRENT REGAN/Common Sense
| February 23, 2024 1:00 AM

As the Republican Presidential Preference Caucus approaches (Saturday, March 2) both interest and questions are increasing. Here are some of the questions and their answers, FYI.

Why are we having a caucus?

The Secretary of State wanted to consolidate the March Presidential Primary with the May General Primary, however, the legislation drafted to do that actually eliminated the Presidential Primary altogether. The Legislature passed the bill and the governor signed it. The Republican Party lobbied to repeal the bill but it was not repealed, so the Republican Party stepped up and is conducting a caucus to enfranchise Idaho Republican voters. Idaho will be the sixth state in the nation to select their delegates to the Republican National Convention.

How is a caucus different than a primary?

A primary election is run by the local government and paid for with your tax dollars and electioneering is not allowed within 100 feet of a polling location. A Republican Caucus as a private event organized and paid for by the Republican Party for Republican voters. Electioneering by Republican candidates is allowed and encouraged.  

I am a Republican, can I attend? 

Yes, if you are an Idaho registered voter and affiliated with the Republican Party before Jan. 1 of this year, you can attend the caucus that is being held for you in your precinct. 

Can I bring a friend who is not a registered voter?

No, only Republican voters and their minor children may attend. No guests are permitted as space may be limited at some locations.

What time will the caucus end?

Doors will open and check-in will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific Time / noon Mountain Time and balloting may start shortly thereafter. The caucus program is scheduled to start one hour later at noon Pacific / 1 p.m. Mountain and Check-In is scheduled to close at 12:30 Pacific / 1:30 Mountain. Anyone in line at 12:30 Pacific Time / 1:30 Mountain Time will be allowed to check-in and vote. Balloting will continue until all the Republicans who have checked in have had the opportunity to vote.

Do I need a ticket or postcard to attend?

No, but it is a good idea to bring the postcard your household should have received listing your precinct name and your caucus location. You need to know your precinct name so you can be directed to the correct Poll Book to sign-in.

Is there Mail-In voting?

No. All voting is same day and in person using paper ballots that are tabulated on site in full view of witnesses. 

What do I need to bring with me?

You must have government issued photo ID, the same as with regular voting. Student ID is not sufficient. 

Can the media attend the caucus?

Yes, but only if they are a registered voter, affiliated with the Republican Party and are attending at their precinct location. The caucus rules do not allow for guests. 

Can I register to vote and then participate in the caucus?

No. Only voters who affiliated with the Republican Party before Jan. 1 can participate. 

Will there be multiple rounds of voting like in 2012?

No, there will be only one vote. After casting your vote, you can leave or stay and watch the tabulation.

I have moved since Jan. 1. Where do I go to caucus?

You can only caucus at the precinct you were registered in on Jan. 1 of this year. 

How long will it take?

It depends on the location and turnout. If you get there when the doors open (11 a.m. Pacific, noon Mountain), stay for the program and candidate presentation and then leave after balloting, it could take one to two hours, more if turnout is high and less if turnout is low. You can also skip the program and candidate presentation and just get checked-in, cast your ballot and leave. 

Can I collect signatures for the Ranked Choice Voting Initiative at the caucus?

No. Both the National and Idaho Republican Parties have taken an official position against Ranked Choice Voting. Petition circulation at caucus locations is not allowed and anyone attempting to solicit signatures will be asked to leave.

Is my caucus location the same as my regular polling place?

Probably not. In most cases your caucus location is different than your usual polling location because a caucus requires a larger facility. Go to www.IdahoRepublicanCaucus.com to find your caucus location.

What if I am handicapped and require special accommodations to vote?

Most caucus locations are ADA compliant. If you require additional accommodations, please contact your Caucus Captain. You will find their contact information here: www.IdahoRepublicanCaucus.com

Where can I find additional information?

www.IdahoRepublicanCaucus.com

If you have additional questions, email them to outreach@IDGOP.org.

This Idaho Republican Presidential Preference Caucus is being conducted at no cost to Idaho residents by thousands of Republican volunteers from every precinct in Idaho. They are your friends and neighbors who have stepped up to help you participate. Please be patient and courteous so you will have the best experience possible.

It’s just common sense.

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Brent Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.