ALABAMA STUDENTS IN IOWA: CAUCUS SYSTEM WAS A MESS

Iowa Caucus

By WVUA 23 Reporter Lacey Beasley

Negative discussion and criticism has swirled around technical mishap at the Iowa caucus, which still has not resulted in any announced winner two days

A group of five University of Alabama students just returned from Iowa after observing the first caucus of the 2020 election cycle. The group walked away with a better understanding of politics, but their biggest takeaway was learning about Iowa’s app difficulties.

“I think from the caucus goers to the candidates themselves, the overall reaction was just utter disappointment,” said Cynthia Peacock, UA assistant professor in communication studies.

This was the first test in the 2020 presidential primary season with the winner likely to become the next democratic nominee, which happened to Barack Obama in 2012. Candidates say this is a crucial time to campaign.

There still has not been a winner.

The blame thrown at a new app developed by “Shadow,” which was designed to make reporting results seamless.

The Iowa Democratic Party saw inconsistencies in numbers, which has delayed the whole process.

“They have to physically stand in a section of the room, so really this is a low-tech event,” said Peacock. “It couldn’t be more low-tech, and so for the first time, they were trying to implement an app that would help them tabulate and streamline the reporting of the results, and obviously it was an utter failure.”

In the midst of the entire negativity surround the way the caucus was executed, there are still some positives.

“Oh goodness, I learned that Iowa has it good,” said Peacock. “They get to meet candidates, have opportunities to see them multiple times, ask them questions, shake their hands.”

Students are walking away with a greater understanding of politics, and how to be better informed when elections come in November.

“Caucusing is a really effective way to get these voters engaged, and sometimes it makes me wonder isn’t that the overall point of having a very engaged democracy,” said Hannah Dugger, a journalism graduate student. “It was really definitely cool to see democracy at its roots.”

With 75 percent of the vote announced, Pete Buttigieg is in the lead, followed by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar.

Nevada has since said they will not be using an app for their caucus.

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