Why Are Educators Involved in Elections?
A top priority of UEA members is ensuring that every child has access to a quality public school. That priority extends beyond the classroom, and it means educators speaking up about decisions that take place outside of school that affect their ability to educate their students. Local, state and national politics have a direct impact on the quality of our public schools; speaking up for students requires speaking up in the political process.
Like it or not, much of what happens in Utah classrooms is out of the control of teachers, parents and school administrators. Decisions about everything from curriculum and class size to budgets for classroom supplies are made by elected officials and appointed policy makers. You can make a difference by attending your party caucus meeting, voting in the primary and general elections, attending school board meetings and following activities of the Utah State Legislature.
For more information about candidates and neighborhood political meetings in your area:
What is a party caucus meeting?
Both the Republican and Democratic parties hold important neighborhood political meetings in March. People attend these meetings to discuss current issues and the party platform and, most importantly, to elect delegates to attend the county and state party conventions.
Why is it important to attend my party caucus?
Convention delegates, elected by their neighborhood caucus, play an important role because it is these delegates who will decide which candidates will be on the ballot in November. At the party convention delegates cast their vote for a candidate and if that candidate receives 60 percent of the vote they will avoid a run-off in the June primary and will automatically be on the ballot in the November general election.
If you’ve ever wished you had a better choice of pro-public education candidates on the November ballot you can see why delegates are so important, delegates can choose the candidates! By attending your caucus you will have a say in which candidates end up on the ballot.
How can I get involved?
You must attend your assigned caucus meeting in order to participate. Caucus locations are typically printed in the newspaper a few days before the meeting or you can call your party headquarters or visit the party website to find out the location. Also, you must be a registered party member to vote or run as a delegate for the Republican party. The Democratic party allows anyone regardless of party registration to participate in the party caucus.
How can I become a delegate?
To become a delegate you just need to have more votes in your caucus than someone else. If you are interested in being a delegate let your friends and neighbors know. Decide if you want to be a county delegate, a state delegate, or both (in Salt Lake County, the Democratic delegates are automatically both). Candidates for a House or Senate district that crosses county lines are selected at the state convention. Take people with you to the meeting who are committed to vote for you. At the meeting, announce your desire to be a delegate and have someone ready to nominate you. When nominated, be prepared to answer questions about why you want to run. If it is to support public schools, say so!