Thousands of Iowans are flocking to Ames today to vote in the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll.
The presidential candidates have booked bands and country singers to perform for their supporters, including Buddy Holly’s band, The Crickets, who’ll be in Rick Santorum’s tent. Randy Travis will perform in Michele Bachmann’s air conditioned tent.
Tim Pawlenty is offering his supporters Dairy Queen Blizzards. Herman Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, is serving up — you guessed it — Godfather’s Pizza.
Candidate Thaddeus McCotter will perform with his own band in his tent; they’ve been taking requests on Twitter. Ron Paul’s campaign has set up a “Prosperity Playground” for the kids.
People can start voting at 10 o’clock this morning. They’ll have to show a photo I.D. to prove they’re an Iowa resident and of legal voting age, then dip their fingers in indelible ink after they cast their ballot so they cannot vote more than once.
The program inside Hilton Colesium starts at noon, with all six candidates given a speaking slot.
The voting closes at four o’clock. The results will be announced sometime in the late afternoon or evening. Party officials have lined up electronic voting machines, but there’s a “write-in” line on the ballot so those names will have to be counted separately and that could delay the results.