WEST DES MOINES, IA — When you are in Iowa on Caucus Day, you find a precinct to observe the process, because it is almost foreign to someone used to casting a ballot behind a curtain in a voting booth in New Jersey. Across The Hawkeye State there are 1,678 voting precincts, according to iowacaucuses.org, with another 99 satellite locations. We checked into precinct 315 held at Jefferson Elementary School in West Des Moines.
The Caucus Chair told the assembled crowd, "We will calculate and announce the viability for the precinct, then break into preference groups to elect delegates, alternates, and county convention committee members." Candidates needed fifteen percent to be considered viable.
"Our precinct elects eight delegates to the county convention, and to be eligible you have to have fifteen percent support, and for our precinct, based on a count of 215, we need 33 people," the Caucus Chair added. "A candidate will have to have 33 people support that candidate in order to be viable for a delegate, for at least one delegate to the county convention."
Preferential ballot cards were handed out, and the first alignment period commenced. People had fifteen minutes to move about the room, congregating near where their candidates' names appeared posted on the walls.
"If you've aligned yourself with a group that's viable, you cannot realign again," the Caucus Chair noted.
The numbers from the first alignment had Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 54 votes, Senator Bernie Sanders with 48, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Vice President Joe Biden each had 34, Senator Elizabeth Warren with 31 votes, Andrew Yang with 13, and Tom Steyer with just 1 vote.
The people for Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Sanders then filled out their preferential ballot cards and turned them in.
Those in the non-viable groups could still realign. The chair said their options included staying where they were, trying to recruit some others from non-viable groups; they were free to join a candidate that was already viable; or they could caucus for another candidate who wasn't viable.
The non-committed group then had fifteen minutes to realign.
Final results saw Buttigieg with 66 votes, garnering three delegates; Sanders received 57 votes, and Klobuchar, had 48, each recieving two delegates; and Biden with 37 votes, and one delegate.
Seven people chose not to align.
TAPintoPlainfield.net is Plainfield's free online daily newspaper for Plainfield, NJ news. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook, Twitter @PlainfieldTAP, and on Instagram @tapintoplainfield for all of your Plainfield local news.