Kris Thiessen, Clay County Republican Party chairperson is anticipating a second strong turnout for the party caucus on Jan. 3, 2012.
"Four years ago, the caucus was about 30 to 40 percent larger than in the past," Thiessen said. "This year they're saying we should expect a 30 to possibly 40 or 50 percent increase. That's exciting. People are interested."
And she's hoping that those who have never participated in past caucuses take the opportunity to join the process this time around.
"I think there's a lot of people out there who don't know what we do at the caucus," Thiessen said. "They may feel intimidated and may not come and take part in the process. It's not a scary thing. It's kind of fun."
The Clay County Republican Caucuses will be conducted at Spencer High School. Registration will begin at 5 p.m. near the school's auditorium with speakers representing each candidate given the opportunity to address the room starting at 6:15 p.m. Each speaker will be allowed five minutes to endorse their particular candidate. To date, GOP Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have confirmed representation.
"I imagine there will be somebody speaking for each candidate before we get to that date," Thiessen said. "All speakers will be from Clay County."
At 7 p.m., the county gathering will break into the respective precincts which will then meet in different rooms in the school building.
As the precinct caucuses begin, each will select a chairperson, secretary and recorder. Following an open candidate discussion, where everyone will be allowed an opportunity to speak, a paper ballot vote will be conducted. A representative for each candidate will be allowed to witness the recorder tally the votes. Results will be turned over to the Clay County Recorder to call into the state.
Once the vote is concluded, the precincts will devote the remainder of the evening to crafting planks for submission to the four-person Clay County Platform Committee. The committee will compile the submissions for a vote at the county convention to be conducted at a later date.
The precinct caucus will also select both county delegates and youth delegates to represent their respective caucuses at the county convention.
"People who are 17, but will be 18 before election in November, may participate in the caucus voting," Thiessen said. "Younger people who wish to come observe, and see what the caucus process is like, are welcome; as are people who want to see process but don't wish to vote."
She added, "Anyone who will not be 18 in time to vote, but still wants to attend the county or state convention, can sign up to be a youth delegate for the caucus."