Guide to voting in the constituency caucus elections

by Jason Frerichs

In addition to the 8 slots per Congressional District, 12 Constituency Caucus groups help make up the State Central Committee. The State Central Committee or SCC for short is the highest governing body of the Iowa Democratic Party when the State Convention is not session. The State Convention is held every two years while the SCC meets four times per year. Every two years all SCC spots are up for election. Normally the District Convention decides the 8 slots per district and the Constituency Caucus Elections for Chair and Vice-Chair positions are held the morning before the State Convention. You do NOT have to be a State Delegate to vote in the constituency caucus elections. The only requirement is that you are a registered Democrat in the state of Iowa and you can only vote in one caucus election. Due to COVID-19, all 2020 conventions have been done virtually. Here is the link to register to vote in a specific election and to nominate yourself or someone else for a Chair or Vice Chair position. Registration is open now until July 5th. The election will be held on July 11th.

The next thing you need to do is decide which Constituency Caucus election you’d like to vote in. A Constituency Caucus is a group committed to advocating on behalf of and bringing diverse voices into the Iowa Democratic Party. In theory that is how it’s supposed to work. There are 12 different Constituency Caucus groups. They are in alphabetical order; Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, Disability, Labor, Latino, Native American, Progressive, Rural, Senior, Stonewall, Veterans, and Women’s.

Which group among those best represent you? I can’t tell you how to decide that but I can tell you how to rule out which groups to consider. If you aren’t a member of the specific group that a caucus represents DO NOT vote in their elections. Just don’t do it. It is not appropriate for a white person to vote in the Black Caucus election or for an abled bodied person to vote in the Disability Caucus election. Those groups need to be able to decide who represents them. While there isn’t any specific rule in place to prevent people from doing that it does not make it okay to do.

Maybe you’re a burgeoning leader and your voice would benefit the SCC. If so, I say go for it. No seat should be uncontested. Only run for a seat if you plan to do the work. Don’t be a place holder or a title chaser. Be an independent voice and when you vote make sure you take your caucus’ needs into consideration. Which one should you run for? I think the same rule applies as to deciding which one to vote in. Don’t run for a leadership role of a group you aren’t a member of. For example, if you don’t have a disability, don’t run for a leadership role in the Disability Caucus. In 2016, a man actually ran for Vice Chair of the Women’s Caucus. Thankfully, I don’t believe he received a single vote but don’t be “that guy.”

How do you decide who to vote for? Only you can make that decision. I think one thing to consider is making sure the Democratic Party is building their bench for the future. Really give extra consideration to young candidates. The young people are doing extraordinary work in movements like Black Lives Matter. We need to lift up those voices and help them grow to become powerful leaders. Give candidates from marginalized communities an extra look. The more voices we have the better we are. I’m 43-years-old and am completing my second term as an SCC members. I’ve been blessed with many leadership opportunities and feel it’s time to step aside and bring in new leaders. We need leadership who can bring in a dynamic inter-sectional movement. We need a youthful movement to bring us into the next decade.

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