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By Karla Pomeroy

State Democrats begin caucus process this week


February 20, 2020

WORLAND — As the Democratic presidential candidates gear up for the Nevada presidential caucus this Saturday, the process in Wyoming has already begun with a mail-in ballot mailed out earlier this week.

Washakie County Democratic Party chairperson Mandy Weaver said all Democrats in Wyoming who were registered as of Jan. 31 will receive a ballot in the mail this week. There will be an additional chance to participate when each county conducts its respective caucus on Saturday, April 4.

While there were more than 20 Democratic presidential candidates, the list has narrowed. There will be 12 candidates on Wyoming’s ballot — Michael Bennet, Joseph R. Biden, Michael R. Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, John K. Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang. Yang, Bennett and Patrick dropped out of the race following the New Hampshire primary but the mail-in ballots were already printed for Wyoming.

According to the Wyoming Democratic Party, Wyoming Democratic voters will have three methods of voting in the 2020 caucus.

•Every registered Democrat in Wyoming as of Jan. 31 will receive an official ballot in the mail. Voters can choose to fill out this ballot and return it in the provided, postage-paid envelope to be tabulated.

•Voters may drop off their completed ballot or fill out a ballot in person on Saturday, March 28, at a location designated by their respective county Democratic Party.

Weaver said they will have the early voting in Ten Sleep but a location has not been determined yet.

•Voters may attend their local county caucus on Saturday, April 4. Democratic voters can drop off their completed ballots to the caucus location or stay and vote alongside fellow county Democrats.

Each ballot will use the ranked-choice voting method, where voters will rank each Democratic presidential candidate in order of preference.

Wyoming Democratic Party State Chair Joe Barbuto said, “Before ranked-choice voting, mail-in ballots offered voters only one choice. If their choice candidate didn’t reach the 15% threshold, they were out of luck — they couldn’t cast a second-round ballot in the same way those caucusing in-person could. With ranked-choice voting, if the candidate they ranked first did not reach the threshold, we’ll know the order of their other choices. For this process to work, for every vote to be counted, it’s vital that Democrats fully complete their ballots.”

Weaver said she likes the caucus process because people have a chance to advocate for their candidate of their choice.

She said the caucus process also allows Democrats to be involved in the process, to interact and get to know other Democrats in the county.

This is the first caucus for the Washakie County Democratic Party in many years, Weaver said. The county party was considered “dark” until Weaver helped revitalize it in 2017.

She said the April 4 caucus in Worland will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. at the One Oak Activity Center. The caucus begins at 10 a.m. and all voting and counting must be completed by noon.

Also at the caucus, the county party will have its convention where resolutions and rule changes will be adopted. Delegates for the state convention will also be elected. Weaver said, “The delegates are attached to a candidate. We will get our caucus results that tell us how many delegates each candidate gets, and then we will elect delegates to go to the state level.”

Residents must be registered as a Democrat by March 20 in order to participate in the April 4 caucus.

Wyoming’s caucus will not have the issues that plagued Iowa, Weaver said, for several reasons. She said the process is different with the mail-in ballot and the caucus, along with the ranked-choice voting.

In addition, she said, the state party is providing plenty of training for party chairman before the caucuses. Weaver said she has already completed one round of training.

The caucus chair for Washakie County is Robert McDonough Jr.

A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to win the party’s nomination. Currently Buttigieg has 22 delegates, Sanders 21, Warren eight, Klobuchar seven and Biden six.

The Washakie County Demcratic Party will be having a family cocktail hour at Weaver’s home, 3006 Paintrbush Lane starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28.

The party meets monthly at 5:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday in the Washakie County Library meeting room in Worland.


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