First caucus in state since 1984
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2015) — The Republican Party of Kentucky officially notified the State Board of Elections on Tuesday that it will hold a presidential caucus next year, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced. The caucus will be held on March 5, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. According to news reports, 111 of 120 Kentucky counties will have caucus locations.
“As chair of the Kentucky State Board of Elections and the commonwealth’s chief elections official, I am devoted to making sure all eligible Kentuckians’ votes are counted,” Grimes said. “While I am not convinced a caucus is the best method for voters to have their voices heard, I want to make sure Republican voters are aware of how they can participate in their party’s process.”
Mac Brown, chairman of the state Republican Party, issued a memorandum regarding its intent to hold the caucus, pursuant to KRS 118.555. State law requires parties to notify the State Board of Elections of their decisions to hold a presidential preference primary or caucus no later than December 31 of the year prior to a presidential election cycle. The purpose of the caucus is to determine delegate votes for presidential candidates at the party’s national convention.
The RPK’s caucus is not the first to be held in Kentucky. In 1984, both the state Republican and Democratic parties held presidential caucuses. The parties had also held caucuses in prior cycles.
A report of Kentucky’s 1988-89 Interim Joint Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments noted that the caucus method utilized in 1984 was “generally met with dissatisfaction among the voters, mainly because many did not understand the process and many who did understand the procedure viewed it as a return to the days when nominees were chosen by a select few, behind closed doors.”
The Republican Party of Kentucky’s notification and caucus handbook are available here.