Precinct caucuses on Tuesday, Feb. 6, mark the beginning of the 2018 election in Minnesota.

They are meetings run by the state’s political parties where the candidate endorsement process begins, delegates are selected, and goals and values, called party platforms, may be set, according to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.

Precinct caucuses are entirely run by the state’s political parties, including the selection of caucus locations and meeting procedures. This year, one part of precinct caucuses will be a preference ballot where Minnesotans will be able to vote for the person they want their political party to support for governor.

Minnesota’s official precinct caucus finder displays caucus locations provided by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and Republican Party of Minnesota. Minnesotans can find their caucus location at http://caucusfinder.sos.state.mn.us/.

“I encourage all Minnesotans to go out and caucus on Feb. 6 and make their voices heard,” said Simon. “Minnesota has a proud tradition of civic engagement and going to a caucus is a great way for Minnesotans to show support for their preferred candidates, raise an important issue, and meet people in their community. This is an important and historic election year in Minnesota and every voice matters.”

In order to participate in a caucus, Minnesotans must be eligible to vote in the November general election, live in the precinct, and generally agree with the principles of the political party hosting the caucus.

Minnesotans also have the right to take time off work to be at a precinct caucus or political party convention (if a delegate or alternate), but must give their employer 10 days’ written notice. Minnesotans interested in caucusing with one of the state’s non-major political parties should contact their party directly for dates and locations.