Antelope County will be part of the decision-making process for the 2016 Presidential Race next week at its democratic caucus.
Antelope County Democratic Party Chair Barbara Ross said this is essentially the primary vote.
"This is a very tight race between Hillary (Clinton) and Bernie (Sanders)," Ross said. "If someone is passionate about one or the other, this is their chance to get with other Democrats and discuss it."
The event will be held at the Neligh Senior Center on Saturday, March 5.
Ross said that because this is such a hotly contested race on both sides Nebraska could play a pivotal role in the election.
"This is a chance to have a voice and be heard," Ross said. "Every county is important."
Ross said the way a caucus works is the room is divided into sections for supporters of each candidate and a section for those undecided.
Democrats are encouraged to actively campaign for candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. They can organize, give speeches, pass out literature or anything they think might sway participants to shift their support.
Voting is done by moving to the different sections of the room. At regular intervals a participant may move to a different group and realign with a different candidate. A candidate's group must have at least 15 percent of the total participants to remain viable.
At the end of the caucus, the Caucus Chair reports the percentage support Antelope County is granting each presidential candidate.
Ross said the caucus is run very much like an election and has legal procedures to follow. Voting must be documented and submitted. Once the caucus begins, no one else can be admitted.
Ross said that the caucus system is relatively new to Nebraska and was first used during the 2008 primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Nebraska Democrats decided to begin using the caucus because they wanted to play a bigger role in the selection of candidates. To date, the Nebraska Republican Party has not made use of the caucus system.
Democrats who are unable to attend the caucus can complete an absentee presidential preference card request form, downloaded from www.nebraskacausus2016.com. Their vote must reach the Nebraska Democratic Party by March 1.
Observers are welcome to attend, but only registered Democratic Party participants may vote on caucus matters. Guests will be asked to sit in a separate area and must remain quiet and cannot be involved in discussions.
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