(Sioux Center, IA) A video taken by Jacob Hall showed voters during the Iowa Caucuses on Monday night come in, vote and then leave. The caucuses were not supposed to start until 7:00p. All four Republican precincts met on the Dordt College campus where early voting was allowed.
People were allowed to vote even before 6:00p. At 6:20p they decided too many people were voting early so they stopped accepting ballots. Shortly after 7:00p, Caffeinated Thoughts was told, they announced anyone who wished to vote and leave could do so which was when the video below was taken.
The precincts experienced a influx of voters. In 2012 they had approximately 500 voters, but had 1600 attend the caucuses on Monday.
The Republican Party of Iowa’s organizational committee who plans the caucuses and conventions established that early voting would not be allowed.
Also, Dr. Jeff Taylor, who chairs the department of political science at Dordt College in Sioux Center, sent an email to the student body encouraging them to register and participate in the caucuses:
In this email Taylor states that students can vote early even though the Republican Party of Iowa’s precinct caucus chair handbook clearly states that ballots are not to be passed out until after a representative of each campaign has spoken.
David Chung who chairs the Republican Party of Iowa’s Organizational Committee, told Caffeinated Thoughts that in training precinct chairs were told they could distribute ballots upon sign-in.
On Facebook however he also said in a comment to Hall that they specifically instruct caucus leaders not to let people vote early.
Also, unlike the Dordt College website, Taylor did not remind out-of-state students who register to vote in Iowa that they may not be eligible to vote in their home state primaries.
Hall on Facebook that said, “But then caucus manager was telling folks in charge of registration not to tell anyone they could do that, but if they asked then they could tell them it was allowed.” He also added that the caucus site that was run by college students had approximately 1600 people show up. He also noted in a message to Caffeinated Thoughts that the paper being used was standard notebook paper that didn’t have any stamp or initial on it and could be easily duplicated to vote multiple times.
Caffeinated Thoughts reached out to Dr. Taylor who said he would defer to the Republican Party of Iowa after he spoke with the Sioux County Republican Party Chair who told him that RPI would be issuing a clarification. The party has not issued a clarification at this time. Caffeinated Thoughts has contacted Chad Olsen, executive director with the Republican Party of Iowa, with an inquiry about the training materials used for caucus leaders, but have not heard back before publication. This article will be updated with any new information he provides.
Updated at 1/4/16 at 4:18p with additional information.