January 31, 2020
Hawk the Vote, a student-run organization at the University of Iowa, will be holding a mock caucus event called Hawk the Caucus at the IMU Main Lounge Jan. 31. The event opens its doors at 6:30 p.m., and will include guest speakers as well as rundowns of both the Democratic and Republican caucuses, which are being held on Feb. 3.
This is the first time Hawk the Vote has held such an event, being a relatively new organization.
“This is our first event like this, we’re actually a pretty new group,” said Kevin Drahos, external relations manager for Hawk the Vote.
For Drahos, Hawk the Caucus is really meaningful because it is an experience people can rely on when participating in the Democratic process for the rest of their lives.
“We believe that it is really important for students to feel confident before going in on Monday. Studies show that the more you are involved with the civic process and the more interactions you have with things like mock caucuses, the more likely people are to turn out in the future and for the rest of their lives,” Drahos said.
Although 2020 is the maiden voyage for Hawk the Caucus, the group is expecting a few hundred attendees. Hawk the Vote has been able to grow buzz for such a novel event through both a strong presence online and on the ground in Iowa City.
“We have gained interest from a couple hundred people on our Facebook event and we’ve been doing a lot of promotional stuff in classes everyday, so we’re expecting a few hundred people to show up,” Drahos said.
As of December 2019, a gallup poll found that 40% of Americans are currently unaffiliated with either political party. Despite their distance from any political organization, Drahos underscored the importance of independents engaging in Iowa’s political practices.
“This is a great opportunity to figure out and explore the concerns you have currently [with caucusing] and that young people in general may have and have time to work out those kinks,” said Drahos. “There will be plenty of time and a lot of resources there to help you.”
Following the model of the Democratic caucus, representatives and supporters of presidential candidates will be present and available to speak with at the event. Hawk the Caucus is scheduled to finish by 9:00 p.m., but if it takes after the Democratic caucus, it will probably go late.