Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Paul Nelson, KSL NewsradioIt's a common question political leaders hear: "How do I get involved in the political process?" Well, if you want to know, this is how.
Other than primary elections, political analysts say it's one of the simplest ways to affect politics on the ground level, where anyone can help determine who gets a party's nomination for president.
"Anybody can file to become a delegate," said Craig Axford, Democratic National Committee party organization director for Utah.
Recently, the Utah Democratic Party held classes on how to become a delegate. Axford says anyone interested first has to sign up with the party.
"They have to sign up to be a delegate for one of the candidates that obviously earned some delegates," he said.
Axford says presidential candidates have to receive enough of a percentage of votes in the February primary to earn delegates. To become a delegate that goes to the national convention, first you have be chosen as a county delegate at party caucus meetings or neighborhood precincts, then get elected as a state delegate. Then at the state convention, they pick who goes to the big show. So, it helps to convince your neighbors to vote for you.
"You're not only persuading them to vote for you but to support your candidate at the caucus meeting, so it really does help to campaign," Axford said.
Both parties will hold their caucus meetings March 25. The only difference between the two parties is the Republicans will pick county and state delegates at the same time.
If a particular bill is more important to you than a specific candidate, then maybe becoming a lobbyist is more for you.
Human Society Director of Grassroots Advocacy Jake Oster said, "You'd be amazed at how many people will turn around on an issue if they're lobbied correctly and given the right amount of persuasion."
Oster will come to Salt Lake City on November 1 to train people how to lobby for the "Animal Torture Bill," also known as "Henry's Bill." He says many people don't know where to find which lawmaker they need to talk to.
"I would suggest going to our Web site. It's humansociety.org/leglookup, and that site is a good tool for figuring out who represents you in Congress and in the state house," he said.
Oster says if your representative won't be persuaded after a one-on-one discussion, keep trying because persistence pays off. He says if that doesn't help, gather your neighbors together to form a group that advocates your cause.