BPOU stands for Basic Political Operating Unit. What that really means though, is that a BPOU is the lowest level of political organization. In rural areas, a BPOU may be an entire county. However, in urban areas, the BPOU encompasses only a particular Senate District or even a single House District.
The BPOU operates as a fairly independent group. It has it's own leadership, membership, budget, etc. Each BPOU endorses members during election years at it's caucuses. And during off-election years holds conventions to elect officers and other business.
However, a BPOU is also part of hierarchy. Unless, the BPOU is a House District, it will have House Districts within it. Each House District is representated in the state legislature by a Representative. In addition, each BPOU encompasses quite a few precincts. These precincts vary in size but are used to help organize votes and voting locations on Election Day.
A BPOU may contain an entire city, or only part of one. It may contain several cities, orpart of several. A BPOU may encompasses an entiry county, or only part of one. It may also contain parts of several counties as well.
SD46 is now in this unique position which is partly in CD3 and partly in CD5. Senate District 46 comprises House Districts 46A and 46B. SD46 includes Hopkins, St. Louis Park and portions of Edina. Each of these cities are in turn broken down to precincts represented by voting or polling locations at churches, schools and public buildings.
A BPOU can change when the legislature does it's redistricting every ten years as it just did in 2022.
A precinct caucus is an event held in even-numbered years, where individuals who live within a certain area, or precinct, and all support a particular party, get together to decide the direction of that party. This is the very start of the political process and you will be helping to select the candidates that the party puts forth in the next election. You will also have the chance to bring forth issues important to you that you would like to see the party address. Each precinct will elect a precinct chair and will nominate delegates (and alternates) to represent them at higher party levels.
What do I do when I show up?
When you show up you’ll be asked to sign in. By signing in, you state your general intent to support that party in the upcoming election and that you agree with the principles set forth by that party. From this point you can be as active a participant as you want.
You will be electing delegates and alternates. If you want to represent your precincts at higher levels, then by all means sign up to be a delegate
(self nominate) and your fellow precinct members may select you as such. You will then be their voice at higher levels.
If you want to bring forth a particular issue, by all means bring that up when your precinct meets. If you are not elected as a delegate, your delegates can then bring this issue up later on in the political process.
You will be electing the precincts chairs*, these important individuals will represent your precinct in the BPOU committee and vote the day-to-day activities of the BPOU.
*Just a note a Treasurer and Co-Chairs may be elected.
Am I eligible to participate?
More than likely yes. If you are eligible to vote in that precinct in the next election, you are not active within any other political party and you agree with the principles of that party, then yes!
Even if you don’t meet the above qualifications, you can attend, but will likely not be eligible to be elected as a delegate, alternate or precinct chair.
Why should I attend?
Have you ever heard it said that you can’t complain about your government if you don’t vote?
Well same principle here.
It’s a very easy way to be active in the party of your choice and to make sure the party is run the way you want. You will have a voice both in what issues are raised and also in selecting the people that run the party.
While precinct caucuses are only the first step in a long political process, they are a step. And they are your doorway to becoming more active in your party. It is your chance to have a say in your party’s platform and the candidates it selects.
In short, the precinct caucuses give you a voice!
SD46 refers to Minnesota's 46th senate district.