The Caucus and Convention Cycle
"The Road to the White House."
In the State of Washington we have a caucus system of developing party platforms and policy. It's exciting, involved and frequently confusing. We hope that the following information, along with the chart at the end of this section, will help clarify our caucus system.
In the Spring of every even-numbered year, PCO's are required to hold a Precinct Caucus for the purpose of adopting resolutions and selecting delegates to the Legislative Caucus and County Conventions. The Party has ruled that such caucuses shall be held in wheelchair accessible locations, therefore most legislative districts hold caucuses in appointed locations, rather than in private homes. Through 1992, during Presidential election years, each delegate was to designate his/her presidential candidate preference as the criteria by which he/she would be selected as a delegate.
Legislative District Caucus
Delegates from the Precinct caucuses meet to elect delegates to the State Convention. In Presidential election years, these delegates also attend the Congressional District Caucuses. Some Legislative Caucuses take stands on issues that are important to the Democratic Party.
Precinct caucus delegates also attend the County Convention to discuss local issues and candidates and to adopt a county platform. Some State Convention delegates are also elected at the County Convention. Platforms adopted at this level are submitted to the Platform Committee of the State Convention.
In Presidential election years only, each Congressional District also has a caucus session made up of delegates from the Legislative Caucuses with the purpose of electing delegates to the National Democratic Convention.
In even-numbered years, elected delegates meet to write a state platform and make decisions relating to Party governance. In Presidential election years, delegates will elect Democratic National Committee members and select delegates to the National Convention.
Every four years, the National Democratic Party holds a convention to adopt a platform and nominate a presidential and vice-presidential candidate, and to conduct other party business.
In some even-numbered years with no presidential election, the Democratic Party holds caucuses, conventions or conferences. This is a recent development. The manner and timing of the selection of participants at these off-presidential year meetings has varied in the past and will probably change from meeting to meeting in the future.
For more information:
There are two slightly different caucus systems, depending on the size of the county involved.
Most Counties (including King and Snohomish):
This document was transcribed for the Web in June, 2003 by Chad Lupkes, a volunteer in Precinct SEA 46-2324