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The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

What to know: The 2024 Iowa Caucus

Kyle Werner

   Simpson College and Warren County are hosting caucuses for the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties and a speech from President Donald Trump on Sunday, Jan. 14. 

   All three caucuses will occur at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15. The Republican caucus for Indianola precincts 3 and 4 are in Hubbell Hall, and the Democratic one is in Kent Campus Center. The Libertarian Party will have their caucus at the Indianola High School in Room 127. 

What is a caucus?

   “A caucus allows voters to select which candidate they support for their party’s presidential nomination,” Abby Meyer, a junior political science major and Andrew Goodman Foundation Ambassador, said.

   Kedron Bardwell, professor of political science, said the process is thought out and discussed based on speeches by various candidate representatives and then a vote is cast.

“Once the vote is done, we discuss party business and vote on platform resolutions,” he said. 

How do I participate?

   Anyone can participate in a party’s caucus by simply being a registered party member and bringing a valid form of identification. 

   If you are not registered to vote but want to participate, you can do this at the caucus site by providing an ID and proof of residence. 

The Republican Caucus

   According to Bardwell, the Republican and Democratic caucuses differ in structure. The Republican caucus is more similar to a direct primary. Participants cast a ballot for the presidential candidate they want in each Iowa district, determining who the Iowa delegates vote for at the National Republican Convention and electing delegates to attend the county Republican convention. 

At the county convention, delegates are elected for the state convention, where they repeat this process to send delegates to the national convention in August.

   Each candidate receives the number of delegate votes at the national convention proportional to the number of votes they received.

The Democratic Caucus

   The Iowa Democratic Party is not doing an in-person preferential vote. Instead, members of the Democratic Party can submit a request for a card to cast their vote for the Democratic nominee at the Iowa Democrat’s website. The party will not count these votes until March 5.

   The Democratic caucus on campus involves voting on party issues and delegate elections to determine who represents the party at the county convention.

The Libertarian Caucus

   The Libertarian Party’s caucus includes an informal vote to determine the party nominee in each precinct and a party business meeting.

   Iowa’s caucus is particularly significant because it is the first in the nation for both the Republicans and Libertarians. Bardwell listed several reasons why this matters.

   “Candidates can gain momentum by doing better than expected which hopefully compounds in the next election,” Bardwell said. “It also causes candidates who do not perform well to drop out.”

Why should I caucus?

   Having the caucuses on campus gives students a unique opportunity to practice civic engagement. Meyer encourages students to take advantage of it.

   “Participating in events like the caucuses is one of the best ways to feel influential in and connected with your community.”

   Bardwell echoed these sentiments, saying “it’s a good opportunity for students to have their voices heard and see what politics looks like at the ground level.”

   For more information on how to get involved with the caucuses, students can read the email from SCCommunications and check the Iowa Democratic Party’s website or the Iowa Republican Party’s website.

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About the Contributors
Maggie Fitzpatrick, Staff Reporter
Kyle Werner, Managing Editor & Social Media Manager

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