UI Hawk the Vote student organization to hold mock caucus event

The UI Hawk the Vote student organization will be holding a mock caucus on Friday that will replicate the actual voting process. This event aims to make students more comfortable and improve voter turnout.


Students and members of the community sign in to caucus for the Democrat Party in the Robert Lee Rec Center on February 1, 2016.

Lauren White, News Reporter

In order to further prepare students for the caucusing process, nonpartisan student organization, Hawk the Vote will hold its first “Mock Caucus.”

The event will be held at 7 p.m. Friday in the IMU Main Lounge, with an open house at 6:30 p.m. where campaign organizers will talk with students about their candidate, said University of Iowa junior Jocelyn Roof, who helped to organize the event

Roof said the event aims to replicate the actual caucus process for both the Republican and Democratic Parties.

“Our goal is to educate students on the entire process and demystify it. You don’t usually get to experience what the other party does, and this gives an opportunity to see what they do as well,” Roof said.

Hawk the Vote is a nonpartisan, student-led campus organization in its first year that aims to advance voter registration, engagement, and turnout. The organization members do all that they can to educate students on the voting process, said Kevin Drahos, a UI freshman.

RELATED: Hawk the Vote celebrates increase in student voters, partners with UISG to keep turnout high

Both the Republican-style caucus and the Democratic-style caucus will be held in Main Lounge and students are encouraged to participate in both as they are held one after the other, Roof said.

“Hawk the Vote has worked on making sure students are prepared for caucuses and providing answers to all of their questions. Students want to feel informed and ready and this event is the best chance for that,” Roof said.

Druhos said the event is especially important for trying to make students feel comfortable and be more inclined to actually vote and participate in the future, without the pressure of the actual caucus.

“We want to draw in students by providing a much less stressful caucusing environment for them to learn as much as they can that way they are much more likely to vote and participate in the upcoming election,” Druhos said.

There are around 25 student, campus, and community campaigns and organizations involved in putting the event together to provide all the necessary resources to educate students, including The Daily Iowan. Sen. Zach Wahls, D-Coralville, and Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, will be in attendance to give brief remarks, Druhos said.

Running the Democratic caucuses is John Deeth and running the Republican caucuses are Bill Keettel and Karen Fesler.

RELATED: Iowa Democratic Party chair predicts 2020 caucuses to be best-attended in history

At this time, Keettel and Fesler could not be reached for comment.

Deeth, a Johnson County Democratic caucus organizer, said that the more people know what’s going on, the smoother the caucus runs. Many students expect the caucus to run like voting, but Deeth said this is a longer process than casting a ballot in an election. Students don’t just come in, vote, and leave; they should expect to spend at least a couple hours caucusing.

“This is especially important in campus precincts where most people are caucusing for their first time. So, having a mock event right before the real thing is a great service,” Deeth said.

Druhos said the caucusing experience can be complicated and stressful, but organizers aim to engage students to encourage participation in elections.

“We feel that the caucuses are really confusing with random rules and a lot to navigate. It can be hard to understand the process and be motivated to show up for caucusing and voting,” Druhos said. “But we hope we can make the process as smooth as we can, because it is so important for students to show up and participate in elections.”