The Albany County Republican Party is gearing up for its biennial caucus, and the party hopes Albany County Republicans excited to enact change will attend the caucus.

Ben McKay, Albany County Republican Party chair, said their caucus will be held on Feb. 6 at the Eppson Center for Seniors in Laramie from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. McKay said that even though it is not a presidential election year, the caucus is still an important event and can impact major change on the Wyoming Republican party as well as the National Republican Party.

“The caucus and convention system that Wyoming has is all about giving as much say as possible to the grassroots of our political party,” McKay said, “It allows each individual, separated by their various precincts to come and meet with other members of their precinct and discuss our governing documents.”

During the caucus, changes to important county party documents will be discussed. The caucus will discuss the party’s governing documents, the county platform – consisting of timeless principles of the party- and county resolutions, which consists of specific things the party wants to see happen. Changes to these documents will be voted on during the caucus.

The other important item of business at the caucus is voting on the number of delegates. Every precinct will vote on a given number of delegates to send to the county convention – who will be official representatives of those precincts.

The county convention on March 3 will review changes made to the governing documents, the platform and resolutions and pass them to the state party and elect delegates to the state convention.

While the process is a winding one, Mckay said it is important. The changes made at the county level can potentially affect how the state party operates. McKay said historically caucuses have a much smaller attendance than primaries but that the 2016 caucus had record attendance due to the excitement generated by the presidential election. McKay said the party hopes to keep the momentum going for the 2018 caucus and keep the attendance as high as it was in 2016.

McKay said an obstacle to achieving that goal is that many Albany County and Wyoming residents do not know that Wyoming holds the caucuses every two years and don’t know how much it can affect the Republican State Party.

“For many of us in the party- it happens every two years and it’s really important because of the fact that our governing documents can change in the non-presidential election cycles,” McKay said. Those changes have a direct effect on the presidential nomination process in the two following years.”

McKay said the process also helps set the agenda for the party’s elected officials and is a way to communicate to the party officials what is important to the individual people in the party.

“Often times we discount the importance of that individual person,” McKay said.  “I mean all power for any government in the United States whether its local, state or federal, derives directly from the will of the people and this is one of the best ways for people who are members of the political party- anyone who is a registered Republican in our case- it’s a way for them to have a voice and bring issues up.”

Mckay said that Albany County residents who want to participate have to be registered Republicans. He said because caucus is run by the party and not the county, the party can’t register people at the caucus. McKay said to register, residents will have to visit the Albany County Clerk’s office and change or update their registration. McKay said it is important to check on their registration status, because they may not be registered, even if they have registered previously.

“This becomes really important because if someone did not vote in the last general election, in Wyoming we purge our voting lists if you don’t vote in the previous general election,” McKay said. “So in Wyoming it is possible for somebody to think they are registered, and not be registered.’

All of this work will be done leading up to the Republican State Convention, which will be held at the UW Marian Rochelle Gateway Center on April 19 -21. McKay said all the changes made to party source documents will have originated from the changes voted on by precincts.

McKay said all the information residents need is on the Albany County Republican website - including contact information for county party officials, who are available to answer any questions people may have about the caucus and county convention.

Laramie Live reached out to the Albany County Democrats but has not yet received a reply.