WHAT HAPPENS IN AN IOWA CAUCUS?
(Katy Harle lives in Bettendorf, Iowa)
What a night! It was exciting to see such a great turnout at our local Democratic caucus, people of all ages, including some parents who brought their elementary and middle-school-age children to watch and learn. The caucus was to begin promptly at 7 p.m.
Lucky for us we arrived early and checked in within minutes. About 6:35 p.m. the line was very long. Evidently a lot of people came who needed to register; some of us were already registered. We carry our registration card with us. Our registration to vote allows us to attend the caucus as well.
We were directed to the cafeteria with chairs set up: Hilary supporters on one side and Bernie on the other with a sprinkling of O’Malley supporters. They kept bringing more and more chairs!
The huge room was full. Republicans caucuses were held in other schools and community colleges.
Caucus began promptly at 7 p.m. Letters were read from Bernie, Hillary and O’Malley. Then the caucus started. All attendees were counted. Can you believe it? There were 114 for Bernie and 114 for Hillary. There were two undecided, both women. One was a high school senior and the other a woman, maybe 50.
I joined the group of people who “caucused” with these two people. It was interesting and kind of fun. Both women eventually decided to join the Hillary supporters. So Hillary had 116 votes.
Then people approached the front table with the evening’s chairperson and co-chair and protested that the two people had come in after 7 pm and that their votes should not be eligible. They spoke with both sides and announced that the two extra votes would not count. To decide the winner, there would be a coin toss! Lots of noise from the whole crowd………….
The Hilary side chose heads & Bernie, tails. Coin tossed, landed on the floor (intended) & win went to Bernie. (Rules say that was the next thing to do to break a tie.)
Then delegates to the county convention on March 12 were voted in. We had 8 volunteers for 2 delegate and 3 alternative spots. The Bernie side voted in 3 delegates and 3 alternative spots.
We were there for 2 hours. There was lots of discussion among the people. It was fun to find support from others. I loved discussing some things with the young high school seniors, all women. Lovely people. I think everyone was amazed at the huge turnout and the closeness of the vote.
Enjoy all the political excitement where you live.