What to Expect at an Iowa Democratic Caucus

Good advice from Claire Celsi, who is also this year’s Democratic candidate in Iowa House district 42. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I’ve officially turned into my Mother. We used to make fun of her for all the stuff she carries around in her purse, but if you really need some lip balm or some gum, or a piece of chocolate, Mom was there with her 15-compartment bag.

It’s in that “I’ve thought of everything” spirit that I bring you my “What to Expect” tip for a Democratic Iowa Caucus. Republican caucuses are shorter and weirder – they use secret ballots. So, no tips for you!

1. Charge your phone ahead of time. There will not be charging stations. Bring a portable battery phone charger if you are a geek like me.

2. Bring a BIG bottle of water – some democratic caucuses can last more than 2 hours.

3. Bring a snack for yourself, especially if you tend to get “hangry.” I happen to know that some caucus sites have banned food, so please be aware that you might not be able to order pizza or get Jimmy John’s delivered.

4. Bring a pen and a notebook. You might want to write down an idea, a new name or a website address.

5. Bring business cards. You will meet new people. I met a guy at my first caucus (1988) who became a life-long friend.

6. Bring a good attitude and a smile.

7. Wear a fun t-shirt supporting your candidate or a favorite cause.

8. Arrive early. If you have an ID or voter registration card, bring it. It might help your check-in process go quicker. The campaigns are recommending that people arrive between 6:15 and 6:30 so that people can get checked in and move away from the entrance.

9. If you are not registered to vote, download and print out your own voter registration card and bring it with you. This will save a ton of time at check in. Here’s a link to the form.

10. Be patient. Your caucus is being run by citizen volunteers. They may have not run a caucus before, and even if they have, it’s been at least eight years since they’ve run a contested caucus.

Most importantly…BE NICE. This is not the time to be cranky. Have fun!!

Claire Celsi is a lifelong Democrat. She worked as the Assistant to the State Director in the Gore 2000 caucus campaign, has managed a congressional campaign, worked at the Iowa Democratic Party, and has been an precinct caucus chair twice. She is currently an active member of the West Des Moines Democrats and a Candidate for the Iowa House, District 42.

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