Henry County Democrats Ready to CaucusWritten by Theresa Rose on January 8, 2016
On Monday night, February 1, 2016, you have an incredible opportunity to influence who will be the next president of the United States: participate in The Iowa Democratic Caucus.
What Happens? At the caucus, Democrats all over Iowa will gather to decide which people will be delegates from their precinct to the County Convention, and which candidates they will represent.
How Does It Work? Go to the location for the precinct where you live and sign up to participate. Each candidate will have a spokesperson who will say a few words about why you should support their candidates. People gather into groups according to the candidates they support (called “Preference Groups) or they can be undecided. The number of people in each group is counted and then you have a chance to move to a different group, for example, to make sure that your second choice also gets some delegates, or because you have been convinced by others that you should change your mind. (This is called “Reallocation”.)
In Henry County, in every precinct a candidate’s group has to have 15% of attendees as supporters to be “viable”. If it is still not viable after reallocation, those people can join other groups.
Finally, the number of delegates for the precinct is divided up according to the percentage of support the candidate has received, and the people in that group elect delegates to attend the county convention. (Note: Republicans use a different procedure.)
Who Can Participate? Any registered Democrat in the State of Iowa, or anyone who will be eligible to vote by Election Day, November 8, 2016. You can register at the caucus on caucus night.
• If you are not registered as a Democrat, you can change your party affiliation.
• If you are 17 ½, in Iowa you can register to vote.
• If You Are Only Seventeen but will be eighteen years old by Election Day you can still caucus for a candidate! If your birthday is August 1 or later, but on or before November 8 (Election Day), you sign a pledge to register as a Democrat.
• If you will not be eligible to vote on November 8, you can still come as an observer.
• If you are a college student, you can register where you live while you are at school.
So Where Do I Go, and What Time? You have to go to the location for your precinct – i.e. the precinct where you live. Go to: sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterreg/pollingplace/search.aspx.
In every county, registration must open by 6:30 the night of the caucus and he caucus will start promptly at 7:00, or if there is still a line at 7:00, as soon as those people (and only those people) are registered. You must be in line to register for the caucus by 7:00 p.m. In Henry County we have decided to begin registration at 6:00 instead of waiting until 6:30.
Make sure you go to the right place! Don’t be late!
To Register at Caucus Night: Each caucus location will have a list of registered Democrats for that precinct. If you are not on the list, for whatever reason, you will have to fill out a registration form, which is very easy to do: Because this is not an election, you will NOT need any official ID. When you sign the voter registration form you are testifying (under penalties of perjury) that all information is correct. You can see the form at https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/voteapp.pdf (even fill it out ahead of time, but don’t sign and date it until you get to the caucus.)
Here are the Caucus Locations for Henry County:
Central Middle School Media Center, 400 N Adams St, Mt Pleasant
MP1 Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 309 North Main St, Mt Pleasant
MP2 IWU Student Social Hall, 601 North Main St, Mt Pleasant
MP3 Civic Center Meeting Room (Public Library), 307 East Monroe St, Mt Pleasant
MP4 Lincoln School Small Gym, 501 South Corkhill St, Mt. Pleasant
N.East Veterans Building, 106 North Locust, Winfield
N.West Waco High School Small Gym, 706 North Pearl St, Wayland
S.East New London High School Auditorium, 106 West Wilson St., New London
S.West Salem Community Center, 201 South Main St, Salem
If you don’t live in Henry County, you can go to the Iowa Democratic Party website, and look up the locations for your county: http://iowademocrats.org/2016-democratic-caucus-locations/
observers are welcome, including future voters/aka children of attendees who don’t have babysitters.
How Do I Decide Who I Support? That’s the important part ― Are the candidates talking about the issues that are most important to you? What issues are most important to you?
What have the candidates done in the past that let you believe them? What have they done in the past that make you think that they can actually get things done?
On November 17, 1,600 students in over 20 counties held a Mock Caucus, sponsored by the Secretary of State. Results: sos.iowa.gov/news/2015_11_19.html. How would you have voted then? How about now?
The Secretary of State also asked teachers to put together resources for a curriculum on the caucus:
Issue Worksheet: teachers.caucus101.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Who-Do-You-Support.pdf. Statements from the candidates: teachers.caucus101.com/resources/
Finally: Go to the candidate’s websites. Talk to a Representative:
Hilary Clinton: hillaryclinton.com; Rachel Cowell, firstname.lastname@example.org; 319-529-9980
Martin O’Malley: martinomalley.com; Michael Barnhill, email@example.com, 252-382-1025
Bernie Sanders: berniesanders.com; Michael Beasley, Michaelbeasley@berniesanders.com, 319-931-7090
To learn more about the Democratic Party here in Henry County: