The first in the Nation Iowa Caucus is Monday, Feb. 3. It’s the time of the year when neighbors and friends meet at their respective party’s caucus sites as listed below to discuss and vote for their Presidential candidate.
The caucus begins at 7 p.m. and the process lasts about an hour. Officials suggest arriving early.
There are several differences between the Democratic and Republican caucuses. Following is a quick overview of both parties.
Democrat Caucus – A Democratic caucus opens with the establishment of a temporary chair and secretary to lead the meeting. They usually get elected as the permanent caucus leaders. Caucus attendees separate into groups based on their support of a candidate. Caucus attendees can also move to an uncommitted group.
Attendees spend the first portion of the evening convincing their neighbors to support their candidate. Caucus participants are counted to set the number of supporters each candidate’s preference group must have to reach viability, typically 15 percent (or a percentage related to how many people attend that caucus) of the votes at the caucus site. Groups that do not meet the previously set viability threshold are asked to realign.
There are two options:
• Group members can abandon their group to support a different candidate.
• Group members can recruit individuals from other groups to join them.
If your preference group is viable in the first round, you can’t switch groups. You can only switch if your group is not viable.
Once all preference groups meet the established viability threshold, the number of delegates for each group will be determined. Each group then elects its delegates and alternates from within the group. All participants then reconvene and take a verbal vote to ratify the selection of delegates.
Republican Caucus – A Republican caucus generally begins with a call to order. Party leaders take care of general business, including election of a chairman or chairwoman and secretary to head the night’s proceedings.
Participants are then given the opportunity to speak on behalf of Presidential candidates, followed by voting via secret ballots, which are collected and counted.
Delegates are nominated to the county convention and county central committee and confirmed by all caucus attendees. Planks are then proposed and the meeting is ended.
Poweshiek County Democrat Caucus sites:
Precinct 1 is for absentee ballots (which does not apply for a caucus).
Precinct 2 (Bear Creek, Madison, Warren, and Jefferson Townships): BGM Elementary Library, 1090 Jackson St., Brooklyn.
Precinct 3 (Deep River & Lincoln Townships): Montezuma Elementary, 504 N 4th St., Montezuma.
Precinct 4 (Malcom & Sheridan Townships): Malcom Auditorium, 212 Main St., Malcom.
Precinct 5 (Chester, Grant, Washington, and Sugar Creek Townships): 4-H Fairgrounds, 425 E St. South, Grinnell.
Precinct 6 (Grinnell Ward 1): Grinnell College Darby Gymnasium, 1201 10th Ave., Grinnell.
Precinct 7 (Grinnell Ward 2): Grinnell High School Main Gymnasium, 1333 Sunset St., Grinnell.
Precinct 8 (Grinnell Ward 3): Hotel Grinnell, 925 Park St., Grinnell.
Precinct 9 (Grinnell Ward 4): Grinnell Middle School Gymnasium, 132 E St S, Grinnell.
Precinct 10 (Jackson, Union, Pleasant, and Scott Townships): Montezuma Elementary, 504 N 4th St., Montezuma.
Precinct 11 (City of Montezuma): Montezuma Elementary, 504 N 4th St., Montezuma.
Poweshiek County Republican Caucus sites:
Grinnell (Ward 1, Ward 2, Ward 3 & Ward 4): Fairview Elementary, 1310 Hobart St., Grinnell.
Poweshiek BMWJ (Bear Creek, Madison, Warren, and Jefferson Townships): BGM School, 1090 Jackson St., Brooklyn.
Poweshiek CGWS (Chester, Grant, Washington, and Sugar Creek Townships): Fairview Elementary, 1310 Hobart St., Grinnell.
Poweshiek DRL (Deep River & Lincoln Townships): Deep River American Legion, 305 Main St., Deep River.
Poweshiek JUPS (Jackson, Union, Pleasant, and Scott Townships): Poweshiek County Courthouse, 302 Main St., Montezuma.
Poweshiek MS (Malcom & Sheridan Townships): Heartland Elevator, 107 2nd St., Malcom.
Poweshiek (City of Montezuma): Poweshiek County Courthouse, 302 Main St., Montezuma.
Editor’s note: Information for this article came from a number of sources including: the Des Moines Register, the Poweshiek County Republican and Poweshiek County Democrat party websites and county officials.