Editorial: Make plans to caucus

The+South+Ballroom+of+the+Memorial+Union+was+packed+to+the+brim+with+caucus+members+from+the+Ames+precinct+4-1+on+Feb.+1%2C+2016.+By+the+end+of+the+night%2C+the+precinct+had+382+constituents+show+up+to+caucus.

The South Ballroom of the Memorial Union was packed to the brim with caucus members from the Ames precinct 4-1 on Feb. 1, 2016. By the end of the night, the precinct had 382 constituents show up to caucus.

Editorial Board

Democracy simply does not work without an engaged electorate. Our representative democracy requires two things from us and our fellow citizens—to be informed and to vote. The Iowa State Daily Editorial Board encourages you to do both by engaging with candidates and voting in the Iowa Caucuses on Monday.

Both the Iowa Democratic Party and the Republican Party of Iowa are holding party caucuses on Monday at 7 p.m. Across the state, voters can attend the voting location for their precinct and conduct party business. Because official party business is being conducted, caucus goers must be a registered voter with that party. However, same-day voter registration will be allowed at the caucus location if you need to change party affiliations.

Several important things happen at the caucus regardless of the political party. Each caucus will establish rules and roles according to the state party and the people in the room. Delegates are selected for county, district and state conventions which take place in the subsequent months. Additionally, caucus goers will have the opportunity to influence and change the party platform, the document that outlines what the party believes about certain issues.

Participating in a caucus is a great way to make your voice heard within the party as these are the people who go on to vote for the final party platform and the candidates who will represent the party in the general election.

Democrats have more at stake during this caucus as the field of candidates for various offices is crowded. Eight Democrats are running to replace Gov. Kim Reynolds, four are running in the 4th Congressional District (including Story County) to replace Rep. Steve King and two are running for secretary of state to replace Sec. Paul Pate.

That is not to say Republicans get a pass at this year’s caucus. Party platforms need to be updated to reflect the ever-changing values and positions of the people who make up the party. In Iowa, this can only be done through the party caucus system.

It is important to note that both parties will also have a primary on June 5. This is a ballot vote where voters select who they want to represent the party in the general election in November. However, if none of the candidates receive 35 percent or more of the vote, then the decision is passed on to the party delegates who were chosen during the caucuses. Moreover, party platforms and issues will only be discussed and voted on at the caucuses and following conventions.

Again, this is especially important for Democratic members as it is unlikely that any of the eight candidates will surpass the 35 percent threshold in the June primary.

Whether or not you like the two-party system, it is how our country operates. Isn’t it time for young, passionate and educated voters to mold the parts to our likeness? Find out more about your party’s caucus, candidates and issues at iowademocrats.org and iowagop.org.