Iowans might be better informed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I thought the only thing that grew great in Iowa was corn, only to find out Tuesday that the field for politicians is pretty fertile, too.

As this is read, we’ll already know the outcome of the Iowa Caucus, but in actuality, the race is only just beginning.

For those – like me – who never understood what was so important about Iowa, let me explain it the way it was explained to me: it’s the first official voting of the 2012 presidential campaign. The winner in Iowa doesn’t always end up with the party’s nomination. Rather, it often serves to narrow the field. Political observers say three people can punch a ticket out of the state and remain competitive in New Hampshire’s primary and beyond.

Six Republican candidates have been actively campaigning for Iowans’ support in the caucuses. On the Democratic side this year, there’s no suspense. President Barack Obama will be the nominee.

From what I can gather, the Iowa caucuses operate very differently from the more common primary elections used by most other states. The caucuses are generally defined as “gatherings of neighbors,” and rather than going to polls and casting ballots, Iowans gather at a set location in each of Iowa’s 1,774 precincts. Typically, these meetings occur in schools, churches, public libraries and even individuals’ houses.

To me, that is what one would call a true informed vote, and a most interesting process for getting to know a candidate.

On a national level, it will give voters their first glimpse of a presidential frontrunner, but could one imagine the impact the process might have on a local level for candidates?

There are 10 days remaining for any local wishing to seek office on the Democratic ticket for county commission, commission chair, circuit clerk and, if memory serves me, a circuit judgeship.

If no one qualifies on the Democratic ticket, voters will elect candidates March 13 in the Republican primary to fill each of those spots. They won’t take office until November 2012.

Then, before we know it, the qualifying will be begin for those seeking a municipal seats in Covington County, and then, voters will elect new city councils on Aug. 28.

No matter what the local race, I would encourage all voters to implement their own type of “caucus” before making their ultimate candidate decision.

Remember, every vote counts. Make yours an informed one.