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"The proper role of government is to protect equal rights,
not provide equal things."
(Liberty Principle #7)

Don't like the candidates that the Republican Party puts forward for general election? Do you think that the party is missing the boat on the platform it puts forward? Are you frustrated that the party is too conservative or not conservative enough? Do you wonder how all these things come to be and, more importantly, WHO are "they" (the people who put candidates and issues into play)?

Wonder no more! The answer is simple and fundamentally explained in this article presented by the Otero County Republican Central Committee. It all starts at the GRASS ROOTS level - with people who care enough to be involved in the process from the beginning.

The list below outlines the basic steps that the Republican Party will go through in the process of naming candidates and determining what their "platform" will be. As you will see, it all starts with registering to vote and declaring a party.

Change or declare a party by filing a change with your County Clerk or the Colorado Secretary of State.

Unaffiliated voters may declare a party by going to the polls in a primary election and declaring at party at that time. (Members of other political parties cannot change their affiliation at the primary election polls. They may change their affiliation by filing a change at least 29 days prior to the election.). If you don't register and get involved, you are giving the right to select candidates and to influence platform issues to someone else - someone who might not share your views. In fact, unaffiliated voters come into play only during the very last step - in the general election (held in November). They get to vote only on the candidates that voters who have declared with a party have selected for them throughout the process! They have missed out on the "grass roots" part of the process where all the real decisions are made, and only get to vote on the "results" of that process.

  • Register to Vote
  • Declare a party.
    Change or declare a party by filing a change with your County Clerk or the Colorado Secretary of State.
    Unaffiliated voters may declare a party by going to the polls in a primary election and declaring at party at that time. (Members of other political parties cannot change their affiliation at the primary election polls. They may change their affiliation by filing a change at least 29 days prior to the election.)
  • Precinct Caucus (Tue., March 1, 2016, 7 p.m.)
  • District Meeting (Otero does not have a District Meeting*)
  • County Assembly (2016 Otero County Assembly is Sat., March 12, 2 p.m., at Rock Ford High School Auditorium)
  • State Legislative and Congressional District Assemblies (2016 Assemlies are Fri., April 8, DoubleTree Hotel, Colorado Springs)
  • State Convention (Assembly) (2016 State Assembly is Sat., April 9, World Arena in Colorado Springs)
  • Vote in the Primary (Tue., June 28, 2016)
  • Vote in the General Election (Tue., Nov. 8, 2016)

We have supplied a Glossary of Political & Election Terms, some of which are used in this article.

In the Republican Party, all things begin at the grass roots level. Any registered voter is eligible to join the Republican Party. All of these registered Republican voters are eligible to attend their Republican Precinct Caucus which is held in even-numbered years at a place, in or close to the precinct, as determined by the County Central Committee and posted in accordance with state law.

By State of Colorado law, in order to vote at any caucus, assembly or convention of a political party, the elector shall:

  • Have registered to vote no later than 29 days before the scheduled meeting event.
  • Have been a resident of precinct for 30 days prior to caucus.
  • Have been affiliated with the political party holding the caucus for at least 2 months prior to caucus.
    Exceptions:
  • (a) If the voter attained 18 years of age or was naturalized during the 2 months immediately preceding the caucus, he/she can still participate.
  • (b) A voter who moves from the precinct where registered during the 29 days prior to any caucus shall become ineligible to serve as a delegate from their former precinct or their current precinct.

 

Precinct Caucus

A precinct is the smallest political geographic area – an election district with fixed boundaries. The Otero County Clerk and Recorder’s office determine precincts and the precincts boundaries, which are usually comprised of around 1,500 people. Otero County currently has 17 precincts. The Republican Precinct Caucus is truly neighbors, who are declared Republicans, having a meeting (caucus) to discuss candidates and policies for the upcoming election. The Precinct Caucus is Hosted by the Otero County Republican Central Committee, and is run by elected Precinct Committee People.

The Precinct Caucuses are the fundamental, and in many ways the most powerful, organizations within the Republican Party. They are truly the gateway to the Republican Party. Voters who attend the Precinct Caucus do the following:

  • Discuss candidates who want to run for office, and vote in straw polls being conducted.
  • Propose resolutions about what the party should stand for. These resolutions go forward where they are voted on at the County, State, and National Republican Convention assemblies.
  • Ultimately, these resolutions become the "planks" of the Republican Party Platform!
  • Elect two precinct committee people.
  • Elect delegates for the Otero County Republican Convention/Assembly. It is from this pool of delegates that delegates to the State Senate, State House, 16th Judicial District, U.S. Congressional District, State, or National Republican Conventions/Assemblies are determined.

 

County Assembly

The next step in the process is the County Assembly.* Delegates and/or Alternates elected during the Caucus/District Assemblies become the voting members of this body. County Assembly is held at a time and place determined by the County Central Committee. State senatorial or house districts that lie wholly within the county usually hold their assemblies in conjunction with County Assembly.

The precinct delegates (or alternates in the absence of delegates) vote on candidates and party business. At this meeting:

  • Nominations for candidates for county office are made and the delegates then vote on them.
    All candidates who receive 30% of the vote at this assembly will be placed on the primary ballot. If only one candidate receives 30% of the vote at the assembly, only one candidate will go forward. Unsuccessful candidates in this process have the option to pursue being placed on the primary ballot by obtaining signatures on a petition. If there is ultimately only one person who qualifies through either the assembly or petition process, then that person is placed on the ballot for the general election. If there are two or more candidates who qualify through the assembly or petition process, then those names are placed on a primary ballot. The candidate who is placed on the ballot for the general election is then determined by the Registered Republicans who vote in the primary election.
  • Prior to this assembly, a committee of people appointed by the Chair of the Otero County Republican Party will meet to review and consolidate all of the resolutions obtained during the precinct process. These resolutions will then be debated, amended as needed, and voted upon by the delegates at the County Assembly. Those receiving a majority vote of the delegates will be forwarded to the State Party for use in determining State Party Resolutions.

 

District Assemblies

District Assembly refers to State House, State Senate, Judicial, or Congressional Districts. Delegates and/or Alternates elected during the Caucus/District Assemblies become the voting members of this body. Otero County residents are part of the following Districts:

  • State House District 47
  • State Senate District 35
  • Judicial District 16
  • Congressional District 4

Delegates elected at the Caucus/District Meetings will participate in one or the other of these assemblies, depending on location. At this meeting:

 
  • Nominations for candidates for the District office are made and the delegates then vote on them. All candidates who receive 30% of the vote at this assembly will be placed on the primary ballot. If only one candidate receives 30% of the vote at the assembly, only one candidate will go forward. Unsuccessful candidates in this process have the option to pursue being placed on the primary ballot by obtaining signatures on a petition. If there is ultimately only one person who qualifies through either the assembly or petition process, then that person is placed on the ballot for the general election. If there are two or more candidates who qualify through the assembly or petition process, then those names are placed on a primary ballot.
  • Delegates for National Convention representing the congressional district are nominated and voted upon.

 

State Convention/Assembly

The State Assembly is often referred to as the State Convention. Delegates and/or Alternates elected during the County/District Assemblies become the voting members of this body. At this meeting:

  • Nominations for candidates for the state and national offices are made and the delegates then vote on them. All candidates who receive 30% of the vote at this assembly will be placed on the primary ballot. If only one candidate receives 30% of the vote at the assembly, only one candidate will go forward. Unsuccessful candidates in this process have the option to pursue being placed on the primary ballot by obtaining signatures on a petition. If there is ultimately only one person who qualifies through either the assembly or petition process, then that person is placed on the ballot for the general election. If there are two or more candidates who qualify through the assembly or petition process, then those names are placed on a primary ballot. The candidate who is placed on the ballot for the general election is then determined by the Registered Republicans who vote in the primary election.
  • Prior to this assembly, a committee of people appointed by the Chairman of the State Party will meet to review and consolidate all of the resolutions obtained during the County Assembly process. These resolutions will then be debated, amended as needed, and voted upon by the delegates. Those receiving a majority vote of the delegates will be forwarded to the National Party for use in determining the National Party Platform.
  • Delegates for National Convention representing the state are nominated and voted upon.
  • Nominations are made and voted upon for National Committee Person. These are seats on the National Republican Committee representing the interests of Colorado.

 

National Convention

The National Assembly is often referred to as the National Convention. Delegates and/or Alternates elected during the Congressional District and State Assemblies become the voting members of this body. At this meeting:

  • Nominations for candidates for President of the United States are made and the delegates then vote on them. Unlike the other assemblies, this body continues to ballot until one candidate is selected who will represent the party as the Republican Candidate for President.
  • Prior to this assembly, a committee of people appointed by the Chairman of the National Party will meet to review and consolidate all of the resolutions obtained during the State Assembly process. These resolutions will then be debated, amended as needed, and voted upon by the delegates. Those receiving a majority vote of the delegates will become planks in the Republican Party Platform.

 

Clearly, there are many opportunities to influence who our candidates will be and what issues we will focus on besides just showing up to vote on Election Day. The choice to become involved and at what level is entirely up to you!

 

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*District Meeting

The precincts that the Clerk and Recorder determine are grouped together into the next larger political geographic unit, called a District. Districts are determined by the Otero County Republican Party By-Laws rather than by the county as was the case of the precinct determination. In Otero County, the 17 precincts are grouped into only one District. Therefore, processes that would normally occur at a District Assembly are referenced here only for the benefit of understanding the election process as it exists in Counties that do have districts. Districts are named alphabetically whereas Precincts are usually numerical. Each district has a District Captain who is elected at the County's Republican Central Committee Meeting.

District meetings are held on the same day and time in each district and are run in each district by the District Captain. Only the elected delegates from the precincts may vote.

Otero County
Colorado
Towns

  • La Junta (81050)
  • Cheraw (81030)
  • Fowler (81039)
  • Manzanola (81058)
  • Rocky Ford (81067)
  • Swink (81077)

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