"Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God."

— George Washington

Meeting Types: Conventions, Mass Meetings, and Canvasses

Conventions, Mass Meetings, and Canvasses are three types of political decision-making processes.

In order to deobfuscate the differences between these three types of political events, here is a very basic description of each type of event.

Each event is officially designated by an "Official Call", which is authoritative.

In order to participate in one of these events you must file as a delegate or unit member before the event. Mass meetings and Conventions have registration periods immediately prior to the event, in order for members or delegates to confirm their participation.

A mass meeting is also known as a "caucus".

Mass Meetings

A mass meeting is a gathering of individuals, conducted at a specific place and time, in order to decide political questions.

Examples of political questions include who is to be the unit chairman for the next cycle, or who will represent the unit to other conventions.

Mass meetings are adjudicated according to the parliamentary procedure known as Robert's Rules of Order.

For additional details about the specific properties of mass meetings, see Robert's Rules of Order section on Mass Meetings.


A convention is a meeting of delegates who represent their respective political units (precinct, magisterial district, county, and so on).

When you attend a convention and file as a delegate, you are representing your own area, rather than representing yourself.

In most other respects, conventions function the same as mass meetings.

For additional details about the specific properties of conventions, see Robert's Rules of Order section on Conventions.


A Canvass is a privately-run balloting procedure.

Unlike mass meetings and conventions, no group gathering is held in a canvass.

Instead, balloting is done at a specific, publicly-accessible place (or places) to vote on issues listed in the call.

A canvass is also known as a "firehouse primary".

Canvasses will have a specific start time and end time.