Political parties to hold caucuses Tuesday night

A new tool can help students find a caucus in their neighborhood.

Cali Owings

On Tuesday, all five of MinnesotaâÄôs major political parties will hold their caucuses, and a new online tool can help students find the caucus location nearest them. At the caucuses, the parties will form their platforms and choose delegates for their party conventions, who will choose candidates for governor. As there is no presidential election this year, the caucuses will be focused solely on MinnesotaâÄôs future, said Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. âÄúPrecinct caucuses provide people an opportunity to sit down with their neighbors who share similar concerns and ideas [and shape] the direction of our state,âÄù said secretary of state spokesman John Aiken. Most caucuses start at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but more details are available on the secretary of stateâÄôs Web site. Attendees can only go to one partyâÄôs caucus. Despite the lack of a presidential election, which brought record crowds to party caucuses in 2008, Ritchie said he hopes to make those new voters lifelong voters this year. âÄúStudents were one of the most powerful forces of 2008,âÄù he said. âÄúThey can be an equally powerful force in 2010 by turning up for the caucuses, the primaries and the election on Nov. 2.âÄù The secretary of stateâÄôs office and the parties have teamed up this year to create Caucus Finder, an online tool that finds the caucuses near you based on your address. Aiken said Caucus Finder is the first such tool in the nation to list all of the locations for each of the parties. âÄúCaucus Finder is the tool that makes it easy for students on and off campus to find all five political parties âĦ They can see all of the options available to them,âÄù Ritchie said. Students can choose between caucuses nearest to their neighborhood or find one close to campus. At the caucuses, every party will hold a straw poll of their preferred candidates for governor. After the caucuses, the results of the polls will be available online on the secretary of stateâÄôs Web site.