ABOUT MINNESOTA'S CAUCUSES
Minnesota's three official major parties -- Republican, Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Independence -- will hold precinct caucuses Tuesday evening.
WHEN AND WHERE
Caucuses will start at 7 p.m. To find caucus locations:
Secretary of state: Online via www.startribune.com/a3949 or call 651-215-1440
GOP: www.mngop.org or call 651-222-0022
Independence Party: www.mnip.org or call 651-487-9700
DFL: www.dflcaucuses.org or call 651-293-1200
The caucuses -- thousands of gatherings held at schools, churches and other places -- are the first step by the parties toward shaping their platforms and endorsing candidates ranging from members of the Minnesota House of Representatives to president of the United States. Caucus-goers propose platform resolutions, debate the merits of candidates and elect delegates to the next stage of the party's endorsing process.
Each party also will conduct presidential preference votes. DFL caucus-goers will be able to cast a secret ballot for a presidential candidate between 6:30 and 8 p.m. The GOP will conduct its vote during the first half-hour of its caucuses. In each case, those who vote aren't obligated to stay for the remaining caucus business. The Independence Party straw poll will include potential candidates plus a write-in option.
HOW THE DFL AND GOP VOTES DIFFER
The results of the DFL presidential ballot will be binding and will determine how 72 of Minnesota's 88 delegates to the Democratic National Convention are allocated. (The remaining "superdelegates" -- party and public officials -- aren't formally pledged to a candidate.) The GOP vote will not be binding on the 41 delegates the party sends to its national convention. Those delegates won't be pledged to candidates until the GOP's state convention in late May.