Utah's political parties will take Campaign '88 to the people Monday evening during caucuses formerly called "mass meetings" in public buildings and private homes in cities and towns throughout the state.
Pages B6 and B7 of today's Deseret News feature lists of principal caucus locations in Salt Lake County and neighboring communities. Voters can also call state or county party headquarters, listed in the phone book, for meeting sites.Any U.S. citizen who will be 18 or older on Election Day, Nov. 8, can participate in the caucus in his or her voting district.
The party caucuses will start a little before 7 p.m., giving those attending some time to settle in before a special KUED Channel 7 program from 7 to 7:30 p.m. details what the caucuses are, how they work and gives each of the five political parties on the ballot 41/2 minutes to make a pitch.
There will be short presentations by Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, American and Socialist Workers party leaders.
Political, civic and church leaders are encouraging Utahns to participate in the caucus process.
Lt. Gov. W. Val Oveson, who oversees the electoral process in the state, notes that one of the main functions of the meetings is to elect delegates to party county conventions and, in many counties, to nominate delegates to state party conventions.
"These delegates are the people who nominate our candidates for office," Oveson said. "The general public only gets to select candidates selected by these delegates."
The two major political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, will have caucus meetings in virtually every voting district, he said. Other parties will meet only in selected voting districts.
Traditionally, only 8 to 12 percent of the eligible voters attend Utah's mass meetings, or caucuses, Oveson said. "I hope that with the number of exciting races we have on the ballot this year, we can increase the attendance at the mass meetings for 1988."
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also encouraging eligible citizens to participate in caucuses and mass meetings in Utah and throughout the United States.
While re-emphasizing the church's long-standing policy of political neutrality and of not endorsing political candidates or parties, the LDS leaders urged voters to attend the meetings of their choice and to use their influence to elect good and capable men and women to positions of public trust.