Editor’s note: This article was originally printed in the Feb. 10, 2016 edition of the Hazard Herald.
HAZARD — Republican voters in Perry County will take part in an historic event this year, as they participate in Kentucky’s first ever Presidential Caucus. Whenever a change of procedure occurs, the likelihood for confusion exists. Therefore, the Hazard Herald hopes to answer questions Republican voters might have concerning the caucus and help ensure that all citizens receive an equal chance to make their voices heard.
The 2016 Kentucky Republican Presidential Caucus will take place on Saturday, March 5, at City Hall in Hazard. This is the only location in Perry County where the voting will occur. Voting hours will be from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on that day. This vote is for registered Republicans only. Voters who changed their party registration to Republican after the date of December 31, 2015 will not be permitted to participate in the caucus.
Republicans should keep in mind that this vote will be specifically for the Republican presidential candidates. Kentucky’s Democrats will not be conducting a caucus to select their presidential nominee. Instead, Democrats will vote for their presidential candidates during the May 17 Primary Election, the same as they have in the past. Republicans should also note that they will still need to vote on May 17 for candidates who are in races other than the presidential race.
A caucus is different from a primary election. The rules for a caucus can vary according to state. Kentucky’s caucus will allow the voter’s selection to remain anonymous, whereas some caucuses in the country make each voter’s selection known and even allow others on hand to discuss the choices. Candidates and candidate representatives will be permitted to campaign at the voting site, unlike a primary. Some caucuses do not allow for absentee balloting, but Kentucky’s does. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot for the Kentucky Republican Presidential Caucus is Feb. 19 and it must be submitted by March 4. These dates only apply to absentee voting for the Republican Presidential Caucus.
This is a first for Kentucky. The caucus will decide which candidate Kentucky supports for the Republican Presidential nomination. Remember that the day for the Perry County Republican Presidential Caucus will be March 5 at City Hall in Hazard from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.