When Nebraskans go to the polls on May 10, the primary ballot will contain the names of the Republican and Democratic presidential contenders. For the Democrats, however, the presence of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on that ballot will be irrelevant.

The issue will already have been decided during the March 5 statewide Democratic caucuses.

Charlene Ligon, chairman of the Sarpy County Democratic Party, said state law has not yet caught up to the fact the Nebraska Democratic Party since 2008 has used a caucus system to select its presidential candidate.

Consequently, Democratic candidates continue to appear on the May primary ballot even though the issue will have been decided long before.

The Sarpy County Democratic Party will caucus by state legislative district beginning at 2 p.m. March 5, with sign-in beginning at 1 p.m.

The caucus locations are:

• Legislative Districts 2 and 49: Platteview High School, 14801 S. 108th St., Springfield.

• Legislative Districts 3 and 45: Bryan High School, 4700 Giles Road, Bellevue.

• Legislative District 14: Papillion-La Vista High School, 402 E. Centennial Road, Papillion.

Residents of Sarpy County who will be eligible to vote by Nov. 8 may participate, although each participant must be registered as a Democrat in the state of Nebraska. Persons may register to vote, or change their party registration, at the caucus.

The caucus system is dramatically different from the primary system where voters cast secret ballots in a booth and rules forbid on-site campaigning.

During a caucus, participants are encouraged to campaign for their preferred candidate. They may deliver speeches, distribute literature, hand out balloons and cookies or anything else they believe might sway voters to their side.

The strength of a candidate is gauged by the number of voters congregating in his or her section of the room, strength that can vary through the evening as voters are persuaded toward one or another candidate.

At the end of the caucus, the results will be announced.

Observers are welcome, but must refrain from caucus activity since only registered Democrats are allowed to participate.

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