Students learn about caucus process in mock caucus


Mallory Tope/ Iowa State Daily

Iowa State students and Ames community members take part in a mock caucus Thursday in the Memorial Union.

Mallory Tope

A non-partisan mock caucus was put together by an events class late Thursday at Iowa State.

“The reason we created this non-partisan mock caucus is to educate students on the Iowa caucus and how to participate whether they are Democrat or Republican,” said Ruby Johnson, senior in event management. “We want people to be less intimidated about going to the caucus.”

Their end goal with the event was to have people “spread the word” on the caucus and get more people to participate in the caucuses Feb. 3, 2020, Johnson said.

During the event Judy Trumpy, Story County Republican central committee chair and Lewis Rosser, Story County Democrat caucus committee chair, went through the process of how each party runs their caucus. 

Students who organized the event presented and spoke for each candidate that was being represented in the mock caucus. They used candy bars as stand-ins for candidates, and students and faculty were able to vote for their preferred candidate by choosing the corresponding candy. 

Lewis and Trumpy went through every step within each of their own party’s caucus. One of the similarities between the Republican caucus and the Democratic caucus is they are held on the same day. Each party has their own steps to voting in the caucus. One key difference is Republicans use paper ballots to vote, while Democratic caucusgoers are physically counted and their votes are converted to delegates. 

“I think the mock caucus was fun — I wish more people would have showed up,” said Hayat Sumael, sophomore in criminal justice studies. “I also love how it remained very non-partisan and how they had both parties present.”

Being out-of-state, Sumael said she felt more confident about going to the caucus after the event.

“I didn’t know anything or what to expect from this event or even the caucus,” said Tony Tonet, senior in civil engineering. “I would love to tell more people about the event and events like it, so that people can learn more about the caucus and become more aware.”

Many people came out of the event saying they learned new information about the caucus. 

“I learned a lot on how the caucus works, since I didn’t caucus in 2016; I feel a lot more confident in going in 2020,” said Josh Hanyang, senior in entrepreneurship.