Members of the Republican party from Blaine and Birch Bay will soon join counterparts across Whatcom County for the Republican caucuses.
Eleven separate caucuses will start at 10 a.m. on March 3 all across the county, with the one for registered Republicans in Blaine and Birch Bay taking place at Custer Elementary School, Whatcom Republicans chair Luanne Van Werven said. Custer will be the meeting place for the seven voting precincts that comprise the Blaine and Birch Bay areas.
At the caucus, voters in each precinct will choose delegates to send to the countywide Republican convention. The number of delegates a precinct gets depends on how many registered Republicans voted in the last primary election, Van Werven said.
"So the more conservative a precinct is, the more delegates they will have,” she said.
Attendees will need their voter registration cards for caucus, although those without their cards can be looked up using Whatcom County Auditor records, Van Werven explained. Attendees must be registered to vote to attend the caucus – organizers will not be able to register anyone at the caucus.
After attendees vote as a whole on planks of the Whatcom County Republican platform, they will be split up into individual precincts to vote for their favored Republican presidential candidate and appoint delegates. Seven precincts comprise the Blaine and Birch Bay areas, and each will send a different number of delegates to the county convention.
Van Werven said anyone attending the caucus can be appointed as a delegate. Perspective delegates will be invited to explain their positions on key issues and say who they prefer as the Republican nominee for president, she explained.
Precincts 301, 302 and 303, which comprise the city of Blaine, will each elect two delegates at the caucus. While each of these precincts will send three delegates to the county, one, elected as the Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) earlier in 2011, gets a delegate spot without having to be appointed at the caucus, Van Werven explained.
The Birch Bay precincts, 102 and 109, will each elect five delegates and send six each to the county convention since the two precincts have already elected PCOs.
Precincts 103 and 104 comprise unincorporated Whatcom County just east of Birch Bay and south of H Street. Voters from precinct 103 will elect three delegates and send a total of four, including the PCO, to the county convention. Precinct 104 voters, who have not previously elected a PCO, will elect two delegates.
Each precinct will also appoint one alternate for each elected delegate. The alternative will serve if the elected delegate cannot attend the county convention on short notice.
Including delegates and alternates, 42 registered Republicans will represent the Blaine and Birch Bay areas at the April 21 county Republican convention. Van Werven said as many as 573 delegates and alternates from across the county will attend the April 21 convention, which will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Shuksan Middle School in Bellingham.
The delegates at the county convention will choose 52 representatives to send to the state Republican convention, which will run from May 30 to June 2 in Tacoma. Delegates from across the state will then choose 43 delegates to send to the national Republican convention, which will run from August 27 to 30 in Tampa, Florida.
For more information on the March 3 caucus, visit www.whatcomgop.com. Custer Elementary School is located at 7660 Custer School Road in Custer.