The Maine event

What to expect when you’re caucusing this weekend

Maine voters will head out to caucus locations and pick their preferred presidential candidate on Saturday, March 5 (if they’re Republicans), and Sunday, March 6 (if they’re Democrats). While Maine’s caucuses fall midway through the presidential primary process — more than 25 states and territories will have caucuses and primaries from March through June — it remains an important contest.

Democratic candidates have 25 delegates up for grabs, while Republican candidates have 23. The campaign field has already narrowed considerably since the New Hampshire primary in February. Martin O’Malley dropped out of the Democratic race, leaving Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to fight it out in a close contest. The Republican field has been winnowed down to five major candidates as of press time: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump (though that may have changed by the time you read this, depending on Super Tuesday primary results from March 1).

What will happen at the 2016 Maine caucus? It depends on which party you’re registered with. Republicans in York County will venture to a single caucus site on Saturday, while Democrats will caucus at various locations in their respective communities.

Regardless of your party or where you vote, the proceedings will be largely the same. If you’re a registered independent, or are unregistered, be sure to arrive early at your caucus location. Registration is typically open for an hour, according to Nancy Stolberg, chair of the York County Democratic Committee.

Once everyone’s registered, the caucus begins. Voters will elect a secretary and election clerks — the folks who help out at local polls on election day in November — along with municipal and county party officers. After that’s wrapped up, the presidential action starts.

During presidential selection, voters will gather in groups based on which candidate they’re supporting. Uncommitted voters will gather in their own group. An opportunity for speeches follows, as voters in each camp try to sway each other to commit to one side or change their minds. Once the groups are finalized, and each group gets the absentee ballots for its candidate, a final tally is taken and delegates are allotted.

Stolberg said that caucus sites are expecting a high turnout this year. “We’ve been asking folks to get meeting spaces with a large enough capacity” to accommodate about 25 percent more people than 2008’s turnout, she said.

“I think it’s going to be an exciting year,” Stolberg added.

Where and when 

For more information, contact your town clerk or visit the York County Republicans website at or the York County Democratic Committee website at

Republicans (March 5)

 Voters from York, Kittery, Eliot, and the Berwicks caucus on Saturday, March 5 at noon, at Biddeford Middle School, 25 Tiger Drive, Biddeford, Maine.

Though doors open at noon, registration and enrollment changes begin at 1:30 p.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. Presidential voting begins at 3:30 p.m. and voting closes at 5:30 p.m.

Democrats (March 6)

South Berwick 

Town Hall auditorium, 180 Main St. Doors open at 2 p.m., caucus convenes at 3 p.m., and voting begins at 4 p.m.

North Berwick 

North Berwick Community Center, 266 Lebanon Road. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.


Town Hall, 11 Sullivan St. Doors open at 1 p.m.


Traip Academy complex, 12 Williams Ave. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and voting closes at 6 p.m.


Eliot Elementary School gymnasium, 1298 State Road. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and voting ends at 1 p.m.