About two dozen Iowa counties plan to host “Iowa Youth Caucus” events on Thursday, November 19th.
Secretary of State Paul Pate says 1200 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 1, 2016, 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.
Below is the list of counties participating in the Iowa Youth Caucus. Students may sign up here. Unless otherwise noted with the asterisk sign, the event will be held on Thursday, November 19. Times might vary by school, but generally, registration will begin at 4:30 and the Iowa Youth Caucus gets underway at 5:30.
Allamakee County: Waukon High School
Boone County: Boone High School
Buchanan County: Independence High School
Buena Vista County: Storm Lake High School
Cass County: Atlantic High School
Clinton County: Central DeWitt High School
Dallas County: Adel-Desoto-Minburn High School
Fremont & Page Counties: Shenandoah High School
Guthrie County: Panorama High School
Johnson County: Coralville Public Library
*Jones County: Kirkwood Community College (already held Oct. 23)
Keokuk County: Sigourney High School
Linn County: Cedar Rapids Washington High School
Marshall County: Marshalltown Community College
Polk County: Des Moines Hoover High School
Ringgold County: Mt. Ayr High School
*Scott County: Scott County Library in Eldridge (on Dec. 5)
Story County: Ames High School
Taylor County: Bedford Elementary School
Union County: Creston High School
Warren County: Indianola High School
Winneshiek County: Decorah High School