Claudia Artola

Oxford dictionary defines “caucus” as: “A meeting at which local members of a political party register their preference among candidates running for office or select delegates to attend a convention.”

But what really is a caucus and what does it entail to be part of it?

This Feb. 3, Iowans picked who will represent them and their beliefs back in the White House. This election, I had the opportunity to be part of a Democratic team, specifically serving as precinct captain for Elizabeth Warren’s campaign.

As a first-time caucuser, I had no idea of the energy and dedication put into these campaigns months prior to the election: Knocking doors, leaving pamphlets, walking several miles  with below zero weather, and having an answer for every commentary possible without losing composure. It’s just a few things that volunteers do on the daily but all of these efforts come together on the date of the caucus.

However; I didn’t know how overwhelmed I was going to be and I bet I wasn’t the only one. Millions of texts. Politicians coming to Iowa last-minute. Papers filling in my mailbox. And countless emails ending up in my spam box. There were some moments where I couldn’t wait for this to be done. Iowa does an amazing job preparing its voters by offering online, in person, and volunteer trainings that facilitate the whole process.

But in my opinion, nothing can prepare you for what is about to come.

My precinct had 81 people. At 7 p.m. the doors were closed and everyone was ready to line up to pick their candidate. As a precinct captain, I had to organize everyone who was committed to Warren and lead people into our corner. In the first alignment, people directly went and lined up for their candidate, leading our group not to be viable. And there were no undecided voters left. Three candidates passed and realignment took place. Since we were not viable, I decided to try to convince certain groups to align with us as their candidate was not viable either. After convincing arguments, we were a viable group with 15 members.

I felt relief that all of this effort was not for nothing. All the training, the doors knocking, and the miles walked ended and, at least for me and it had been successful.

With issues such as glitches in the app, people going to wrong precincts, and coin-toss finishes, I worry the election results seem not to be as precise or  accurate as we would like them to be. However, I hope for the best in this election, not only for me, but for the nation.