2014 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 Constitution states: Each individual caucus shall be open to any Utah citizen who resides in the precinct, who will be at least 18 by the time of that year’s general election. The State Party, through its Bylaws, may restrict participation and voting in the precinct caucuses based on party affiliation.
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 for 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.
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.
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”).
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 the 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). Roberts 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:
4. Reading of the State or County Platform
5. Review of Rules, Procedures, Duties of Precinct and Delegate
6. Nominations and Elections (County Parties may change the order) for:
Precinct Vice Chair
Precinct Secretary and/or Treasurer
7. Other Business as directed by State and/or County Parties 8. Select Election Judges
9. Adjournment of the Meeting
The State Party shall provide the county parties with either an electronic check-in system 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 return them to the State Party, which will then run them through an optical scanner. County parties WILL NOT need to manually input participant information.
Additionally, the State Party will provide an online pre-registration system for participants. Those participants who pre-register will be required to provide their home address, phone number, and email. The online pre-registration system will be available through each individual precinct website, and precinct members will only be able to view their own detailed voter information. Precinct members will only be able to pre-register for themselves. Each precinct website will allow all verified precinct members to view the contact information for candidates in that precinct.
Rules for Debate/Speaking
Every participant 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 preregistered. 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 one minute each, whichever is greater, 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.
All elections shall be determined by majority 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 may be elected if allowed by the respective county party’s governing documents.
Same Day Balloting
A precinct-specific ballot will be available on the precinct website 24 hours before the neighborhood caucus election convenes. Candidates on the ballot will be any registered Republican who pre-registers to run for a precinct office or delegate seat. The ability to print the online ballot will only be available to a registered Republican from that specific precinct. The ballot will not include the individual’s name, but will include their unique Voter ID, number or another suitable unique identifier at the top of the ballot. Individuals are only allowed to vote using their unique ballot. No copies of ballots are allowed.
A person may bring to the caucus no more than three (3) ballots on behalf of others.
The Precinct Host and ballot counters will verify that only unique same-day ballots will be cast at the neighborhood caucus election by verifying that no duplicate Voter ID numbers or other identifiers are present at the top of the ballots. The ballot will accommodate write-in candidates. The ballot will not be signed, to protect the right to a secret ballot. The ballot will be folded and inserted into an envelope, the envelope will be sealed, and the voter will affix his signature across the envelope seal. A copy of a government-issued ID – front and back – will accompany the envelope.
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.
A voided blank copy of the ballot will be posted conspicuously inside the precinct location throughout the registration and meeting.
Out of State Military and Religious Service Same Day 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 ballot will include the names of those persons who have pre-registered as candidates as well an option for write-in candidates.
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 party’s 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.