Caucus Rules

Printable pdf version

2018 Utah State Republican Party Neighborhood Caucus Election Rules

The county parties shall organize Neighborhood Caucus Elections according to the following rules, set forth in Bylaws Section 9.0 A and B, as well as those rules approved by the State Central Committee as provided in Section 9.0 C. These rules have been designed to promote a welcoming, open, and efficient neighborhood caucus election experience.

The State Party Bylaws state:

A. Qualifications and Disqualifications of State and County Delegates. Each individual caucus shall be open to the public. Each participant shall be:

1. A Utah citizen who resides in the precinct and
2. 18 by that year's general election.
3. A registered Republican party member as referenced in Article I of the Party
Constitution or who registers as Republican at the individual caucus meeting.

Each participant shall not be a simultaneous officer, delegate, candidate or registered affiliated voter of any other rival political party. (Voter registration materials shall be available at the meeting or those who wish to affiliate that night as Republicans.) For purposes of this Bylaw, "rival political party" means any organization of registered voters currently qualified to fully participate in Utah elections as provided by Utah Code, which is not the Republican Party.

B. Each caucus meeting shall use the following agenda: Welcome, Prayer, Pledge, Reading of the State or County Platform, Review of Rules, Procedures, Duties of Precinct and Delegate Positions, Nominations and Elections, Other Business as directed by State and/or County Parties, Select Election Judges, and Adjournment of Meeting.

Precinct Hosts
Each county party shall designate individuals to conduct its neighborhood caucus elections per its governing documents. The newly elected Precinct Chair will take office at the conclusion of the meeting. The Precinct Host will be responsible for processing the results of the meeting in accordance with instructions from the State Party.

Election Attendance
Anyone may attend and observe the neighborhood caucus election as long as they do not commit a breach of decorum. In the event one or more such instances occur, the individual may be asked to leave by the Precinct Host.

Ability to Participate
Those residents living within the precinct boundaries, who will be at least 18 by the time of the general election, who are registered with the Republican Party, including any residents affiliating that night, and who are properly credentialed are considered qualified participants and may speak, vote, and run for precinct offices and/or delegate positions (“participants”) and vote in the Presidential Caucus.

Affiliating Election Night
Those residents living within the precinct boundaries who will be at least 18 by the time of the general election and not a registered Republican may complete a voter registration form and affiliate as a Republican on the night of the neighborhood caucus election. The Precinct Host will collect the registration form and forward it to the County Party with the precinct packet at the conclusion of the meeting.

Rules of Order
The State Party, through its governing documents, sets the rules for neighborhood caucus elections. The rules are designed to create a standardized procedure throughout the State and to ensure a fair and level playing field for all attendees. These rules cannot be suspended in whole or in part. Robert’s Rules of Order will apply in limited situations (see appendix A). Robert’s Rules of Order will not apply if they conflict with these Neighborhood Caucus Election Rules. In addition to these rules, the State Party will provide a packet for each precinct that includes all required materials and additional administrative instructions deemed necessary to facilitate a successful neighborhood caucus election.

Caucus Meeting Order of Business
The State Party sets the agenda. The individual precincts do not adopt or amend the agenda. If multiple precincts meet in the same location they may complete all required business in one body prior to the Nominations and Elections section of the agenda. Only the business set forth in the agenda may be conducted at this meeting. Each meeting will follow the following format:

1. Welcome/Introductions
2. Prayer
3. Pledge
4. Reading of the State or County Platform
5. Read statement and Play a video (if equipment is available) to explain and promote the Caucus-Convention System.
6. Review of Rules, Procedures, Duties of Precinct and Delegate Positions
7. Nominations and Elections (County Parties may change the order) for:

a. Precinct Chair
b. Precinct Vice Chair
c. State Delegate (and Alternate)
d. County Delegate (and Alternate)

The State Party shall provide the county parties with either an electronic check-in spreadsheet or the ability to check-in a participant on a pre-populated form that already includes the relevant voter information. This will ensure a prompt and efficient check-in process. While the State Party strongly recommends the electronic check-in method, a county party and/or individual participant can choose whether to participate. Blank forms will also be available for those participants who opt-out of the electronic check-in and are not included on the pre-populated form, for whatever reason. County parties are responsible to collect the pre-populated forms and input the data into the check-in spreadsheet. County parties will make all reasonable efforts to input data within a maximum of two days after Caucus. If County Parties feel they will be unable to meet the two day deadline, they need to coordinate with the State Party to aid in data input.

Rules for Debate/Speaking
Everyone has an opportunity to speak to an issue once before anyone can speak twice. If time limits on debate/speaking become necessary they can be imposed by a majority vote of the participants.

Nominations for each office shall be taken from the floor, in addition to those who pre-registered. Seconds are not necessary. Only participants may nominate. Only those qualified to participate may be nominated. A participant may self-nominate. A nominee need not be in attendance. The Precinct Host may close nominations for an office only when no further nominations are offered.

​Candidate speeches for each office shall be limited to a total of three minutes per office or delegate seat, evenly divided among the candidates, or thirty seconds each, whichever is less, unless modified by a majority vote. Disclosures of candidates with regard to platform planks, employment, personal views, support for individual candidates, etc. are in order.
Voting will be by secret ballot in contested races. In the event that three or more candidates are nominated for the same precinct office or the same delegate position, the caucus may use multiple ballots or preference voting to choose precinct officers or delegates.

Election results can be declared by acclamation if only one nominee is submitted for any given office. One ballot shall be made available to each participant for contested races. The Precinct Host shall announce the vote counts.
Precincts may determine whether to use a majority or plurality vote. Ties shall be determined by a coin toss. Precinct Hosts shall designate two or more non-candidate ballot counters and inform each candidate they may provide a poll watcher. Violations of these procedural rules shall not be basis for challenging delegate credentials. This does not prohibit county parties from disciplining party officers for such violations.

The State Party recommends each County have a voting method that is fast, fair, and representative of the precinct.
Alternate delegates shall be elected if allowed by the respective county party’s governing documents.

Absentee Balloting
People who wish to participate in their neighborhood caucus but cannot attend in person may still vote for Precinct officers and Delegates by having another person submit their ballot on their behalf. Absentee ballots must clearly list the precinct position with the name of a precinct member for that position to be considered a valid vote. To prepare their ballot, the absentee voter must seal their ballot in an envelope with their signature signed across the seal and the Precinct name or number
on the envelope. A copy of a government-issued ID – front and back – must accompany the envelope. A person may bring to caucus no more than three (3) ballots on behalf of others.

The person to whom the voter’s envelope and copy of the ID is entrusted to shall be responsible to deliver the envelope to the Precinct Host and to destroy the copy of the ID or to return it to the voter. The State Party will assume no liability for the information on the copy of the voter’s ID.

The Precinct Host and ballot counters will verify the identity of the voter using the copy of the voter’s ID to ensure the individual meets all regular requirements for participation in that ​precinct’s neighborhood caucus election. The Precinct Host and ballot counters will verify the signature on the envelope against the signature on the copy of the government-issued ID, but will not take possession of the copy of the ID. Once the signature is verified the ballot will be certified.
The ballot will be used in all rounds of voting.

Out of State Absentee Balloting
A registered Republican who is serving outside the state of Utah on active military duty, or who is engaged in religious service outside the state of Utah, who is unable to attend their caucus meeting, may contact the State Party and their precinct chair and vice-chair to request approval to cast a ballot in his or her precinct elections. The request must be made at least 72 hours before the caucus begins. Additionally the Republican must specify what specifically is prohibiting them from attending in person. The precinct chair will verify that the person is a registered Republican and otherwise eligible to participate in the election. Once that person is verified, the person may cast his or her ballot via email to the precinct chair and vice chair.

The Precinct chair will print the email message (which becomes the ballot) and seal the ballot in an envelope affixed with his signature and implement the ballot in the caucus meeting. The precinct host will include the ballot in all rounds of voting. If the precinct chair and vice-chair both agree that the ballot does not qualify and meet the above specified requirements, they may spoil the ballot. The deputy host [vice chair] along with the precinct host will verify that the ballot is implemented properly.

Candidate Meet and Greet
The State Party recommends that county parties provide for and advertise a one-hour meet-and-greet with precinct candidates between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, directly before the neighborhood caucus election.
Appendix A:
Robert’s rules of Order will apply in limited situations as follows:
1. Only the business contained in the call to the meeting can be taken up.
2. The provisions of the call, specifying the meeting’s purpose and those invited to attend it, have a force equivalent to bylaws of an organized society; that is, they define the subject matter within which motions are in order, and determine who have the right to participate as members.
3. The State Party has the sole right to set the agenda and the business to be conducted.
4. The State Party shall select the criteria for the meetings and create the rules.
5. The State Party documents define who can be a participant.
6. Other rules are seldom necessary unless it is desirable to modify the general rules as to allowable length and number of speeches.
7. Any person at a mass meeting who, after being advised, persists in an obvious attempt to divert the meeting to a different purpose from that for which it was called, or who otherwise tries to disrupt the proceedings, becomes subject to the disciplinary procedure.
8. The participants have the right to conduct the business.
9. The purpose of the meeting shall be read to all participants.
10. Only motions that pertain to the purpose of the meeting are in order.
11. There is no appeal from the ruling of the chair’s decision in assigning the floor.
12. Debate follows the general rules of parliamentary law.
13. No one can speak on an issue more than once until all others have had an opportunity to speak.
14.A motion to Adjourn is out of order while business is pending.
15. When the business for which the meeting was called has apparently been completed and no question is pending, a motion to adjourn is in order.