# Students

College students have the right to caucus in Iowa!

The blogosphere has been ablaze this week after Register columnist David Yepsen’s piece about trying to preserve the sanctity of the Iowa Caucuses by essentially banning out-of-state students attending school in Iowa from coming back to Iowa to caucus.

First of all, I think desmoinesdem is right with her post here calling for Yepsen to apologize to Obama.  As Obama’s been the most vocal of the Democrats calling for students to come back and caucus, he’s been the brunt of Yepsen’s attacks.  Instead, the Obama campaign has been busy fighting with the good progressive ally Paul Krugman instead of David Yepsen who often will smack down truly progressive ideas without indulging them fully or honestly.  So, while the Obama campaign may desperately want the Register’s endorsement, challenging his assertions and his problematic claims against students may do even more to boost your campaign than the endorsement.  But that’s another story entirely.

But secondly, I felt it was my place to respond as a college student (admittedly from Iowa) with many, many friends from outside of Iowa who plan on staying in the state to caucus.  These students spend at least nine months of the year here in the state and have the choice to register to vote here as Iowans.  When you spend 3/4 of your year in a state where you pay income tax on any jobs you might have and pay the local sales tax it seems quite clear to me that you ought to have a say in the elections the state holds, no matter who the candidates are.  The Iowa Democratic Party agrees.  From a statement released this afternoon by IDP Chair Scott Brennan:

“In running the First in the Nation Caucuses, the Iowa Democratic Party follows the Iowa Code in determining the eligibility of potential caucus goers. According to the Iowa Code, all college students who are at least 18 years old are eligible to vote and, therefore, eligible to caucus.

Any student who attends an Iowa college or university may participate in the Iowa caucuses provided they are 18 by November 4, 2008, and are a registered Democrat in the precinct in which they wish to caucus.

The Iowa Democratic Party encourages all eligible caucus goers to attend their precinct caucuses on January 3rd to strengthen the Democratic Party and declare their presidential preference.”

It is really just that simple.  And like others before me have said, David Yepsen is just being elitist in this column and implying tactics that are shady when in fact they’re completely legitimate and legal.

What is even worse is that some presidential campaigns are still agreeing with the rhetoric calling for all out-of-staters to stay away from the caucuses.  While Clinton’s campaign has been back-tracking, they still can’t offer a full answer on whether students from outside Iowa should caucus.  Chris Dodd’s campaign is the one that started the pledge, and both Biden and Richardson have tacitly or overtly signed on and offered rhetoric in support of the policy.  This is absurd to me, and I hope that the campaigns are questioned about this in tomorrow’s Register Democratic debate.  But I doubt it will come up.

And, just to rub it in David Yepsen’s face, here is the Drake student newspaper’s article on how students can sign-up to stay overnight in the Olmsted Center–Drake’s student union–and caucus on January 3rd.

College students in Iowa, stand up and have your voices heard!

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