Primary caucuses begin Tuesday

CIRA de CASTILLOTGI Staff Writer

LIHU’E — In November, more than 96 million people from Hawai’i to Maine will

go to the polls and vote their choice for the next president of the United

States.

This transition of power is at the heart of American democracy and

has successfully been put to the test 53 times since the election of the first

U.S. president, George Washington, in 1789.

Before the General Election on

Nov. 7, each national political party will nominate a candidate whose name will

be placed on the general election presidential ballot in all 50 states and the

District of Columbia.

Nominating Presidential Candidates

Hawai’i,

unlike New Hampshire where the first political primary in the country was held

last week, does not hold a presidential primary election. Hawai”i’s state and

local primary election is held in September well after the national parties

have selected their presidential nominees.

Candidates that emerge from the

national political party conventions as their nominees are placed on the Hawaii

general election ballot.

The nomination of a single candidate, who will be

charged with winning the presidential office for their party, is ultimately

made by the delegates at the national political parties’ convention.

Delegates carry with them a committed first ballot vote for the candidate who

won their states primary or caucus vote. The party’s presidential nominee

selects their vice presidential running mate and, as a “ticket”, they lead

their party on the general election ballot.

Political Party Caucus

Meetings

Delegates who are selected at the local political party caucuses

may go on to county, state and if selected national conventions. Delegates may

carry with them to the national convention the commitment to a presidential

candidate who is seeking the presidential nomination of their party.

That

commitment is registered as a vote cast at the national convention.

On

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week the Republican Party of Kaua’i will hold

three district meetings. Districts 12 and 13 will meet Feb. 8 at the Kilauea

and Lihu’e neighborhood centers, respectively.

District 14 will meet at

the Kalaheo neighborhood center on Feb. 9.

There party members will vote to

fill precinct and district offices and elect delegates to the state Republican

Convention. They do not conduct a presidential caucus of the members.

March

7 the Democratic Party of Kauai will hold 20 precinct caucus meetings to poll,

by secret ballot, all members presidential preference choice followed by

election of party officials and county and state convention delegates.

Each delegation must be equally divided between men and women.

March 25 the

Kaua’i Green Party members will begin their county caucus meetings.

The

Republicans will open their national convention on July 29 in Philadelphia.

Democrats will convene Aug. 14 in Los Angeles and the Greens will hold their

national convention in Denver on June 24.

Primary Election Process

Primary elections are really political party elections. The process and rules

for the primary elections may be different in each state.

In Hawai’i any

properly registered voter can vote on any single party ticket of their choice

on primary election day.

The citizens of Hawai’i are not required to

register with a political party, and do not need to declare a party affiliation

when registering or voting in the primary election.

But to participate in

the political party caucuses one needs to be an official party

member.

Political Parties Ballot Access

There are currently three

qualified political parties in Hawai”i. The Democratic, Hawai’i Green and

Republican party all have ballot access to nominate candidates for all elected

offices in Hawai’i.

If the Libertarians, Reform, Natural Law, and

Taxpayers, all political parties who had presidential candidates on the 1996

Hawai’i presidential ballot, or any other political party wants to have a

presidential candidate represented on the Hawai’i 2000 general election ballot

they will need to file a petition with the chief election officer of Hawai’i by

Sep. 8, 2000.

Political Party Genesis

Thomas Jefferson founded the

Democratic Party of the United States in 1792 and was elected as the first

Democratic President in 1798. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) was

established in 1848. The DNC is the oldest continuing party committee in the

United States and the world.

The Democratic Party rose to political power

in Hawai’i with the election of John A. Burns as Governor in 1957.

In 1854,

the Republican Party, know as the GOP (Grand Old Party), formally organized

itself by holding its first convention.

Abraham Lincoln, in 1860, became

the first elected Republican President of the United States. William W. King

was the last Republican governor in Hawai’i.

The Green Party, in August of

1996, held its first United States nomination convention in Los Angeles. In

1998 Ralph Nader became the party’s first presidential candidate.

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