2016-01-29 / Community

Presidential caucus dates are scheduled

By Wm. Duke Harrington Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — Dates for the presidential caucuses in Maine have been set, a fact Town Clerk Merton Brown pointed out at the Jan. 12 selectmen’s meeting, given the number of calls he’s fielded recently about a presidential preference poll.

Maine uses the caucus format, rather than primary voting for president.

Democrats from Kennebunk and Kennebunkport will caucus March 6 at Kennebunk Town Hall. That format will likely include the show-of-hands style vote typical of caucus events.

Republicans from across York County will meet March 5 at Biddeford High School.

“I’m told by the Republican Party they plan on conducting a written ballot,” Brown said, noting that at both events, representatives will be chosen for state conventions, which then select state representatives to the national party conventions. Caucus and convention delegates are generally sworn to vote for the candidates they are chosen to represent.

Brown said he will be on hand at the caucus events to register Kennebunk residents to vote, and to enroll them in a political party. People also may switch parties on the day of the caucus, Brown said.

“The thing to remember is you register to vote, but you enroll in a party – you may be registered to vote and not be enrolled in a political party,” Brown said.

Maine has three recognized political parties – the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the Green Independents. The Libertarian Party recently sued Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap over its official status. The party submitted names of 6,482 registered members by the Dec. 1 deadline, but Dunlap’s office ruled only 4,513 of the registrants were valid. A party must have 5,000 registered members by Dec. 1 before an election year in order to be recognized with ballot status. Following the ruling, the Secretary of State’s office automatically struck all of the Libertarian registrants, essentially turning them back into unenrolled “independent” voters.

According to Brown, Kennebunk currently has 9,243 registered voters. These include 2,462 Republicans (26.7 percent of the total), 2,439 Democrats (26.3 percent), and 174 Greens (2 percent), along with 4,168 unenrolled voters (45 percent).

Staff Writer Wm. Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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