BAR HARBOR — Area Democrats and Republicans will gather in municipal caucuses next weekend with all Republicans from Hancock County meeting in Ellsworth on Saturday, March 5. Most Mount Desert Island Democrats are scheduled to meet at MDI High School on Sunday, March 6.
Democrats from Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, and Southwest Harbor will gather at 1 p.m. for speeches. Caucus proceedings, including the election of party officers for each town, begin at 1:45 p.m. Check-in ends at 2:15 p.m. Presidential preference balloting begins at 2:30 p.m.
At the Democratic caucuses, registered party members split out into groups, in this case for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Attendees also can join an uncommitted group. Impassioned supporters of each candidate usually speak in an attempt to sway more people to their side.
Delegates representing local towns at the state Democratic convention are then apportioned based on the strength of each group. It is the delegates from the state convention that elect delegates to go to the national convention.
Maine also has five “super delegates” that attend the national convention and can vote for whomever they choose. They include Rep. Chellie Pingree, Peggie Schaffer of Vassalboro, Maggie Allen of Madison, state party chairman Phil Bartlett of Gorham and State Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash.
On caucus day, officials in towns all over Maine will report the results and the candidate with the most delegates will be declared the winner.
Only registered Democrats can participate. Unenrolled (independent) voters or those who have not yet registered to vote can register and enroll as Democrats prior to the caucus providing they arrive early enough. Registration begins at noon and ends at 1 p.m.
The deadline for switching enrollment in a political party at local town offices already has passed.
Call Jerry Miller at 244-4014, Mary Jellison at 244-3171 or Anne Kneeland at 266-7576.
The Tremont Democratic Party town caucus will be held on March 6, 2-4 p.m. at the town office.
Residents who will be 18 by Nov. 8 are eligible to participate. The registrar of voters will be there from 2-2:30 p.m. to register any new voters or help unenrolled voters wishing to change their registration to Democrat.
Absentee ballots can be obtained through mainedems.org or by calling 622-6233. The presidential preference poll is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.
The snow date is Sunday, March 13, same location. The caucus convener is Carey Donovan. Call 244-5845.
Trenton’s caucus is set for 1 p.m. at the “town center,” according to the party website. On Cranberry Isles, the meeting will be held at the home of Jeri Spurling at 3 p.m.
Republicans from all towns in Hancock County are slated to gather at Ellsworth High School on State Street on Saturday, March 5, at 8 a.m. Beginning at that time, people who are not registered to vote can do so and then enroll as Republicans. Unenrolled (independent) voters also can switch to the Republican Party at that time.
Registration ends and municipal organizational meetings begin and the presidential vote, by paper ballot, opens at 9 a.m. Speeches in support of presidential candidates are set for 10 a.m. Those voting do not have to listen to the speeches before casting a ballot, although party officials are encouraging participants to do so.
The presidential vote closes and ballots will be counted at noon. Tallies will be sent in from around the state and a winner announced later in the day.
Unlike in the past when Republicans elected delegates to a state convention, who then elected delegates to a national convention, vote totals on Saturday will result in delegates to the national convention apportioned directly.
If any one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the total, that candidate will get all of Maine’s Republican delegates, party instructions say. Any candidate with less than 10 percent of the vote will get no delegates.
Maine will send 23 delegates to the national convention.
According to the secretary of state, Maine has 307,881 registered Democrats, 263,735 registered Republicans and 40,442 Green Independents.
The largest bloc is unenrolled, also known as independents, at 365,795.