About two dozen Iowa counties plan to host “Iowa Youth Caucus” events on Thursday, November 19th. Secretary of State Paul Pate says 12-hundred junior and senior high school students have already signed up to attend. “Both parties are participating in this, so the students will see both the Democratic Party caucus procedures and the Republican,” Pate says. The students will vote for their preferred presidential candidates and, just like the Iowa Caucuses scheduled for February 1st, Republicans will collect “straw poll” ballots to gauge who won and Democrats will calculate the delegate strength of each candidate to declare a winner.
“We’re very excited about giving our young people the opportunity to learn first-hand how the Iowa Caucuses work,” Pate says. “Being First-in-the-Nation is a very serious responsibility and I think this activity will give them the background they need to become engaged in civics in their community.” Iowa Democratic Party chair Andy McGuire says many of the students will be close to voting age.
“If we want to get more young people involved politically, we have to engage them,” she says. “We have to involve them in public service and then programs like this really do that.” Iowa Republican Party chair Jeff Kaufmann says this exercise will help show the nation Iowa Caucuses deserve to be first in the nation. “We take this serious and we’re going to earn it again in 2016,” Kaufmann says.
Adults representing the Democratic and Republican Parties in each county will be on-site for the Youth Caucus events November 19. The students will debate issues and develop “planks” for their party platforms in addition to voting for their favorite presidential candidate. The events are fashioned after the “Mock Caucuses” Democrats and Republicans have been holding at high schools in the Des Moines area the past couple of years.
In the KJAN listening area, here are the Counties and locations for the Youth Caucus:
Cass County: Atlantic Middle School (Cass County Democratic Party Chair Sherry Toelle says there are over 100 students pre-registered, most of whom attend the CAM Schools.)
Dallas County: Adel-Desoto-Minburn High School
Fremont & Page Counties: Shenandoah High School
Guthrie County: Panorama High School
Ringgold County: Mt. Ayr High School
Taylor County: Bedford Elementary School
Union County: Creston High School
(Times might vary by school, but generally, registration will begin at 4:30 and the Youth Caucus gets underway at 5:30.)