Minnesotans will head out on Tuesday to their party's caucus, hoping to weigh in on who their next elected representatives will be.

Caucuses are partisan events, chiefly conducted by the Republican Party of Minnesota, the DFL Party and the Independence Party of Minnesota. Any eligible voter who resides in the precinct and generally agrees with the party's positions can participate.

The caucuses are the first step in each party's selection of new candidates and in making revisions to the party platforms. On the GOP side, there will be nonbinding straw ballots to determine the relative support of Republican candidates to face DFLer Gov. Mark Dayton and DFLer U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

When: 7 p.m., Tuesday at select caucus locations.

Where: Caucusgoers must attend meetings in their home precincts. The Minnesota Secretary of State's website has a helpful "caucus-finder" tool at: caucusfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

Why: For political enthusiasts, the caucuses are the kickoff of the political season and an opportunity to become involved in partisan politics.

What's next: The caucuses select delegates to the next step, county or legislative district conventions, leading ultimately to congressional district conventions and the state conventions.

Final product: Parties hope to endorse candidates for statewide and congressional offices, and the caucuses set the playing field for those battles.