At 7:00p tonight, Iowans voting in the Republican Caucus will go to community centers, churches, schools, clubhouses and even living rooms to pick who they believe should be the Republican nominee for President.  The candidates (minus Jon Huntsman) were making their final appeals to voters yesterday and most today are focused on national and local media.

Now it’s time for Iowans to decide.  We need to put the pundits out of our minds.  We have a great responsibility, and contrary to the meme that Iowans don’t matter in the process – our Caucus winner has gone on to be the nominee in three of the last five Republican contests.  Forget about electability, vote your principles, vote your conscience.

If you are not sure where to vote, you can find your location here.

What to expect.  When you arrive at your location you will sign in, people can register to vote at the Caucus site as well.  So if you’re not registered yet, come anyway.  A temporary chair for the Caucus should be in place, but a permanent chair will be elected by that caucus.  He or she will run the evening from that point forward.  Each candidate will be given the opportunity to have somebody speak on their behalf before the vote.  Sometimes that person is predetermined by the campaign, sometimes not.  If no one has volunteered to speak for your candidate of choice by all means volunteer.  Back in 2008 I had the opportunity to speak for Mike Huckabee, I had planned to do it, but I did not volunteer with the campaign before hand to do so.  No one stood up so I went ahead.  The voting will be done by a secret, paper ballot (literally you write your candidates name on a piece of paper).  This isn’t like a Democrat caucus where they physically get up and move to an area in the room designated for their candidate, those candidates who don’t meet the threshold would then have their supporters recruited (cajoled, etc) to a different candidates group.  There won’t be any of that at a Republican caucus.  It’s a secret vote, the votes are counted, every campaign can have a representative present during the counting.  Then the results are announced.  Each caucus will be handled differently based on the caucus chair, but all caucuses will then move on to select delegates to the county convention, central committee members, and provide suggestions for the county party platform.

When it ends will depend on how efficient your chairperson is and how long-winded the speeches are (usually a time limit is set), etc.  Happy Caucusing!

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