Utah’s unique caucus system often generates questions: How does it work, how do you become a delegate, and if you are a Republican voter this year, what the heck is a presidential preference poll?

Utah Women Run has answers.

Utah Women Run, a nonpartisan initiative hosted by the Hinckley Institute of Politics, will be holding a training session on Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m., with both virtual and in-person options.

This training is designed to help the public better understand Utah’s caucus-convention system, according to a press release from the initiative. It will feature sessions led by Utah Democratic State Chair Diane Lewis and Utah Republican State Chair Rob Axson, as well as Shelly Jackson, the deputy director of elections from the Utah lieutenant governor’s office.

Precincts, district chairs and caucus locations, oh my. Delegates, conventions and winning elections. Thursday’s training will help attendees understand not only the lingo, but how to attend, participate and get elected, if they choose to run.

Caucus night this year, March 5, is also Super Tuesday, when 15 states and one territory will be holding presidential primaries. Utah Democrats will be holding a presidential primary that night, but the Utah Republican Party will not. Rather, the Utah GOP will be holding a “Presidential Preference Poll” at the caucuses, like they did in 2016. Just as a reminder: the last time the Utah GOP held a presidential preference poll, Sen. Ted Cruz won handily with 69% of the vote. He dropped out two months later.

Each GOP attendee at caucus night will have the opportunity to vote for one presidential candidate of their choice. The state party will then use the results of the Presidential Preference Poll to vote at the Republican National Convention in July.

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The event is held in partnership with the Utah Democratic and Republican Parties, as well as Bolder Way Forward, Mormon Women for Ethical Government, SLCC College Democrats and RepublicansWomen’s Leadership Institute, and Women’s Work Utah. 

Attendance is free, and individuals can choose to attend the session in person at the Hinckley Institute of Politics on the University of Utah campus, or virtually. Seats for in-person training are limited. You can register at utahwomenrun.org to secure a spot. 

Politics can be infuriating, depressing and even demoralizing. But it’s also a long game. Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, writing for the Deseret News, recently reminded us that our country is stronger than the outcome of one election.

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“A virtuous people are those who not only believe in the fundamental principles set forth in our founding documents,” she wrote, “but also believe it is their duty to secure those rights for others and preserve them for future generations. A virtuous people see the humanity in one another, even when they disagree. A virtuous people believe, like Lincoln, that ballots are better than bullets.”

She continued: “Regardless of who occupies the White House, we, the American people, must open our hearts to ‘the better angels of our nature’ and individually commit to embody Lincoln’s ideas of virtue; treating others with charity, not malice, accepting the results of free and fair elections, winning with grace, losing with dignity and understanding that neither victory nor defeat is permanent — there is always another election around the corner.”

We the People need to participate in the political process. We need to show up and speak up. We need to get involved and stay involved. Utah Women Run is one of the organizations that will show you how.

Holly Richardson is the editor of Utah Policy

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