What local Iowa residents think about the Iowa caucus

The Iowa caucus is six days away. Iowa is the first state election in the race to the White House and one of the few states in the nation that use a caucus versus a primary election.

The process of a caucus is much different than the primary election that takes place in Wisconsin. But the folks there said they wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you’re not from Iowa, chances are you don’t know much about the caucus process of voting. It’s similar to a primary election in that you vote within the political party you identify, but in Iowa they do it a little differently.

At a Republican caucus in Iowa, a representative will have the chance to answer questions about and speak in favor of their presidential candidate before registered Republicans cast their vote.

“Here it brings like-minded people together and it’s surprising sometimes that people will change their mind and say, ‘Oh I never thought of that.’ ‘I didn’t hear that,'” Lansing, Iowa Republican Caucus Chairmen Doug Sharp said.

At a Democratic caucus in Iowa, the same happens, but instead of voting on a ballot, caucus members try to persuade one another into their candidates designated corner of a room. After a specific amount of time the number of people in that candidate’s area are counted and given a percentage.

Iowa residents like Darlene Protsman enjoy having a caucus instead of a primary.

“Because I want to see what everybody else has to say and I haven’t decided officially yet who I’m going to choose so I want to hear what everybody else’s opinions are on a few of the choices,” Protsman said.

Life-long Iowan Alan Steiber will be a part of his first caucus Monday, but said even though he’s never participated before, he likes the idea of it more than a primary.

“Yes, I do, and I may have some preconceived opinions, but we all do. I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t up for change,” Steiber said.

Sharp said some Iowa residents don’t like the publicity that comes with being the first state to vote for the presidential nominee, but said most embrace it.

“If you’re first, it’s fun to be able to at least say, ‘We choose this person to think they’re the leader,'” Sharp said.

“I’m kind of looking forward to doing it and I think it’s a good thing,” Steiber said.

The caucus process has been used in Iowa since it became a state in 1846.

The caucus election in Minnesota is March 1 and primary election in Wisconsin is April 5.