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Get ready for caucus

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Secretary of State Mark Ritchie encourages Minnesotans to attend their precinct caucuses on February 2.

He also urged residents to engage their friends and neighbors in a civil conversation about the future of Minnesota and the country.

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The secretary announced that his office has again partnered with all of Minnesota's political parties to launch Caucus Finder, a free online service that assists Minnesotans in finding the location of their caucus of choice.

Ritchie applauded the political parties for their cooperation in the creation of the office's caucus finder, noting that Minnesota is the only state that offers a one-stop online resource incorporating all political parties' caucus locations.

"I thank all of Minnesota's political parties for putting democracy ahead of partisan politics by recognizing the importance of Minnesotans of all political persuasions participating in the caucuses," Ritchie said. "I am excited that we were again able to work together to launch Minnesota's first-in-the-

nation caucus finder."

The political parties are selecting locations to hold their precinct caucuses and reporting that information to the secretary of state's office.

The office is updating Caucus Finder continuously to reflect location changes made by the

parties. As February 2 approaches, the office strongly encourages caucus-goers to reconfirm meeting locations using Caucus Finder to determine if their party has made any last minute changes.

Precinct caucuses are open to the public and are organized by Minnesota's political parties. During these meetings, each party begins the process of selecting its candidates for the 2010 election and adopts policy positions. In order to vote, offer resolutions or become a delegate at a precinct caucus, attendees must be eligible to vote in the 2010 general election, live in the precinct, and be in general agreement with the principles of the political party.

"Precinct caucuses provide a great opportunity for citizens to get involved in the political process at the grassroots level," said Ritchie. "I encourage Minnesotans to participate in the caucus of their choice and join their friends and neighbors in a civil and constructive conversation about the direction of our state and country."

Caucus attendees may also request to be placed on a list to be an election judge. Approximately 30,000 election judges are needed to staff more than 4,100 polling places across Minnesota in each general election.

Ritchie encouraged caucus-goers to consider serving as an election judge, saying, "Serving as an election judge provides a valuable service to our democracy and is an opportunity to learn more about the election process."

The secretary of state's office will further assist the political parties by posting to its website the results of the parties' straw polls gauging their own caucus-goers' gubernatorial candidate preferences.

For further information about precinct caucuses, contact your political party directly. Contact information for each of Minnesota's six political parties is online at www.sos.state.mn.us.

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