Maine Democratic caucuses – essential info
- When: Sunday, March 6. Times vary, but they start in the afternoon.
- Where: mainedems.org has the county and town list here, which also shows when the caucus will start.
- Who can go: registered Democrats only. If you’re unenrolled – not belonging to the Republican, Democratic, or Green parties – you can enroll as a Democrat when you arrive at the caucus. It’s good to get there early-ish, so that the Town Clerk or other official can enroll you. Often, this official doesn’t stay for the whole caucus. Also, if you’re not 18 yet but will be by the November general election, you’re eligible to register as a Democrat and attend the caucus.
- If you’re Republican or Green, and want to participate in the Democratic caucus: you must change your enrollment to Democratic by Feb. 19. You can do this at your town offices.
- Can I vote absentee?: Yes! And you don’t need a note from your doctor or any excuse whatsoever. Request an application for an absentee ballot here, at mainedems.org, and submit to them by March 2. Your vote will be counted!
- Can I vote absentee and change my mind and go to the caucus?: Yes! The caucus convener or chairperson will have a record of your absentee vote. Just ask this person to cancel the vote so you can vote directly at the caucus.
- Will I be a delegate to the Maine State convention?: Possibly – if you want to. It’s a two-day convention in Portland, May 6 & 7. Delegates are usually selected during the town caucus.
I’ve always lived in primary states, so I haven’t had the “pleasure” of caucusing yet. I’ll soon find out. The word on the street is they can get pretty rowdy, and if you disappear for a bathroom break you may miss a vote. I imagine it’s more orderly in the smaller towns, but we’ll see…
My guess is everyone has their favorite meatball recipe, so this is helpful only if you want to try something a bit different – which is poaching the meatballs before browning them in a pan. Here you go —
You’ll need – for 4 people:
- 1/2 lb. each of ground beef, ground veal, ground pork. Or skip the veal (if you really must) and use 1 lb. of ground beef
- 2 eggs
- Italian bread crumbs – about 1 1/2 cups (I just dump them in till they look right)
- 2 tbsp. grated parmesan
- 2 oz. red wine
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tbsp. oregano
- dash of cayenne to taste
- black pepper
- 4-6 cloves pressed/minced garlic
- 1/2 cup chunky pasta sauce or 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, drained
Stir all these ingredients together so they’re well blended, but don’t overmix (like, with your hands, squooshing the mixture) because the meat will lose its fibrous texture. Form into meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Now you need:
- 2 14-oz. cans beef stock or broth
- olive oil
In a large skillet, bring the beef stock to a slow boil. Poach the meatballs in the stock for about five minutes. (☞ Okay, poaching is optional, but it adds great flavor and softens the texture). Then sauté the meatballs in olive oil until evenly browned – avoid overcooking as they’ll become crunchy. Keep them warm in the oven till ready to serve with your favorite sauce and pasta, or place them in your pasta sauce as you’re heating it.
I want to leave you with this photograph, taken near Gallup, New Mexico, by franzeldr (his handle, via the stock photo agency we licensed it from). It’s going on the cover of my novel, to be published in a few weeks. New Mexico landscapes can be addictive. Gourmet eye food. Click to see it big:
There you have it.