In late February and early March, voters registered as Democrats or Republicans have a chance to choose who will represent them at the state conventions where each party’s primary candidates for state elections are selected.
It’s called caucusing. And it’s exciting because it’s where the election process begins, said Mary Shanley-Koeber, Eastham Democratic Town Committee chair. “It starts locally, and people have to be engaged,” she said.
Over the next two weeks, the Democratic town committees in Provincetown, Wellfleet, and Eastham will convene to elect delegates to the state Democratic Convention set for June 3 and 4 in Worcester.
Anyone registered as a Democrat before the caucus may vote for the delegates and alternates. Other interested community members who register for the event may attend but not vote.
Local Republican caucuses take place in February and early March, too. There is only one Republican town committee on the Outer Cape, in Eastham, according to the MassGOP website. That convention will be in Springfield on May 21 this year.
Shanley-Koeber said she thinks the governor’s race will generate a good deal of interest and attendance. Gov. Charlie Baker announced in December that he would not seek a third term.
So far, former state Rep. Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty, a Wrentham business owner who is president of Capstan Atlantic, have announced they’ll run for governor on the Republican ticket.
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz of Jamaica Plain, Harvard ethics scholar Danielle Allen, and Attorney General Maura Healey are running as Democrats.
The Eastham caucus will be Saturday, Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. on Zoom. The committee will elect three delegates and three alternates. Registration is on the MassDems website, where all state-registered caucuses are listed. At 10 a.m., in same Zoom meeting, Town Clerk Mary Nicholson will discuss the voting process. Contact Shanley-Koeber at [email protected] or 774-353-0617 with questions.
The Provincetown caucus is Saturday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Provincetown library and on Zoom. The committee will elect five delegates and four alternates. Those who want to attend remotely should contact committee member Elizabeth Gawron at 508-737-2146.
The Wellfleet caucus is Saturday, March 5 at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom. The “doors” open at 9 a.m. Three delegates and three alternates will be chosen. Though attendees can register that day, the committee would prefer preregistration at wellfleetdems.org. Contact committee chair Lydia Vivante at 508-237-3133 for more information.
Recent local issues on the table for Wellfleet Democrats are the safe decommissioning of Holtec’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, including books in school curricula that promote diversity and inclusion, and efforts by the Cape Care Coalition for Universal Health Care to establish single-payer health care on the Cape, Vivante said.
Covid-19 put a strain on participation in the last few caucuses in Provincetown, said Democratic Town Committee chair Austin Knight. Shanley-Koeber said she thinks virtual caucuss, though started as a way to avoid Covid-19 transmission, should remain standard because they allow more people to participate.