How to participate in Iowa’s Caucus

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks to an audience in Iowa. Photo by Olivia Galyon

By: Ryan Pattee

On Monday February 3, Iowa will hold its caucus, the first of the nation as the state has every year. 

At 7 p.m., central time, the state of Iowa will open over 1,600 individual locations across the state to begin tallying the first votes of the presidential race. For years Iowa has been a highlight for any campaign as it gives the country it’s first glimpse at each political party’s front runners before the general election.

Unlike the general elections, the Iowa caucus requires individuals to vote for the party they are registered to. For example if one were registered under the democratic party, they would have to choose a member from the democratic party. If someone would like to switch parties, all locations will allow you to change parties at the location. Those eligible to vote in the Iowa Caucus must be a U.S. citizen, an Iowa resident and be at least 18 years of age (17 and a half also qualifies if you will be 18 on election day). 

In Ames there will be 20 different locations and over 40 in Story County. Here is a list of all the locations in Story County for both democrats and Republicans (all listed locations in Ames will reportedly be available for both democrats and republicans to caucuses) However, you should go online and find what voting area matches your zip code as that will determine what location you need to be in. 

For those unfamiliar with Iowa’s caucus you may be surprised to find that democrats and republicans have a different style from one another when it comes to supporting a candidate. For republicans you simply go and cast your ballot for who you’d like to represent the republican party. With democrats, caucus goers must vote for their favored candidate, after some time passes if your candidate does not earn a certain percentile in the voting procedure you must vote for another candidate or abstain and not join another. 

If at any time the caucus becomes too confusing, there are multiple volunteers at each location who are there to assist you and answer any questions you may have. 

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