Why Are The Maine Caucuses On Different Days? Much Has Changed In The Pine Tree State
Super Tuesday may be over but the country has far from picked presidential nominees to represent either the Democratic or Republican party. On Saturday, even more states prepared to caucus and hold primaries. This "Super Saturday" event includes the northernmost state in the contiguous United States, though only one caucus is set to be held that day and only for the Republicans. Democrats will have to wait until Sunday to exercise their rights and help pick a presidential nominee. Why are the Maine caucuses on different days? Though the state has previously held caucuses on separate days, 2016 marks an important change for voters in The Pine Tree State, most notably for those on the right.
The GOP Maine caucus had previously stretched on for days, with voters getting a far larger window to caucus for their favorite candidates. This year, however, the process has been somewhat consolidated. Registered Republicans will head to county caucus sites, some of which have been divided up to span fewer municipalities as a means of combating overcrowding. In addition to turning the process into a far more streamlined affair, the Maine Republican party has changed their delegate distribution process for the sake of making a bigger impact nationwide. 23 GOP delegates are up for grabs and if a candidate receives more than half the vote statewide, they receive each and every one of them. Otherwise, the delegates are proportionally split up for any candidates receiving at least 10 percent of the statewide vote.
On the left, 25 delegates and five superdelegates are up for grabs in Maine. Three of those superdelegates have already pledged loyalty to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton while Bernie Sanders has received the support of one Maine superdelegate. State party Chairman Phil Bartlett — the last unpledged superdelegate in Maine — has decided to withhold backing a candidate until the caucus wraps up on Sunday.
The Democratic party has done little to alter their caucus process in the state, choosing to continue with town hall-style events spread across each municipality. Whereas the Republican party had spread their caucus out across as many as three full days, the past few Democratic caucuses in Maine have only lasted one day. The allocation of delegates is entirely proportional to how many votes they get per caucus location.
Caucuses allow Maine voters not only an opportunity to have their voices heard but to hear from prominent party leaders as well as get more involved in local and national politics. Based on the fact that Maine's caucuses span two days, this weekend promises to be a truly busy, highly political affair.