What is a delegate?

Delegates play an important role in Utah’s political system. Here are some commonly asked questions about delegates.

What is a delegate? What does a delegate do?

A delegate is someone from your precinct (neighborhood) whom you elect to represent your precinct at your party’s convention. Delegates are important because they elect candidates for your political party’s primary (and in some cases general) election.

What is a precinct caucus?

A precinct caucus is a neighborhood meeting where you and your neighbors of the same party affiliation get together and elect delegates and precinct officers.

These meetings happen once every two years on even-numbered years. This year, precinct caucuses will be held on Tuesday, March 13, at 7 p.m. for Democrats and Thursday, March 15, at 7 p.m. for Republicans.

 

Why become a delegate?

In Utah, delegates have a lot of sway politically. As a delegate you are one of 4,000 or fewer people (in some races as few as 80) who decide who will be your party’s nominee in this year’s elections.

If a candidate gets 60 percent or more of the delegate vote at convention, he or she is the party’s nominee in the general election. If no one receives 60 percent of the vote, the two candidates with the highest number of votes go on to a primary election.

 

Who can be a delegate?

In order to be a delegate you must

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be 18 years old or older by the date of the general election (Nov. 6 for this year)
  • Live in the precinct you represent

If you are running for a Republican delegate position, you must be a registered Republican. If you have not already registered as a party member, you can do so at the precinct caucus.

 

What’s the difference between a state and a county delegate?

There are two kinds of delegates: county delegates and state delegates. County delegates select nominees for county offices and also for legislative offices in districts that are entirely contained within that county. They also attend to county party business.

State delegates select nominees for federal and statewide offices and for legislative seats whose districts are in multiple counties. They also attend to state party business.

 

If I’m elected a delegate, what will I have to do?

Delegates serve two-year terms. Each year you are asked to attend one convention (your party’s county convention if you are a county delegate, or your party’s state convention if you are a state delegate).

In the first year of your term, you will attend the state or county nominating convention where you will select party nominees for the primary or general election. In preparation for this convention you will need to meet with the candidates (don’t worry, they will seek you out) and decide who will best represent you, your neighborhood precinct and your values.

In the second year of your term you will attend the state or county organizing convention. In this convention, you will elect party officials, discuss the party platform and conduct other party business.

Each of these conventions lasts several hours and is either held on a weekday evening or Saturday morning. Be sure that you will be available to attend these conventions if you want to be a delegate. You will not be able to vote if you do not attend the convention.