Drake University caucus exceeds 400 percent capacity

At the Iowa caucuses, Democratic Precinct DSM 038 at Drake University saw massive overcrowding as voter turnout exceeded expectations by more than 400 percent.

In Olin Hall 101, 485 caucusgoers supporting one of three Democratic candidates were subject to delays in the caucus process and standing-room-only space.

Alek Butkus, the DSM 038 precinct leader for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, says one projection predicted turnout would be about 120 voters in this precinct, far fewer than the almost 500 voters who actually participated.

“Personally, I’m kind of upset that we have this precinct location. I don’t think it’s fair to a lot of people here,” Butkus says. “I’m a student here at Drake, [and] there’s plenty of rooms that are larger than this. I think they could have chosen a larger room.”

Butkus says he helped with voter registration at the caucus site. Butkus says his goal was to persuade Democratic voters to support his candidate, to help her win as many delegates as possible from this precinct.

“Our strategy is good old persuasion,” Butkus says. “If there are people who are looking for somewhere else to go, we’re going to talk to them, find out the issues that are important to them, solve it out through there.”

Caucus-goers at Democratic Precinct DSM 038 vote by raising hands and counting because of the crowded space. Photo by Ingrid Roettgen/TMN.

Kevin Geikel, a volunteer for the Democratic National Committee and temporary precinct leader of DSM 038, says Olin 101 was not selected by the DNC.

“[The DNC] did not choose this room, it was chosen for us by Drake University and the Polk County Democratic Party,” Geikel says.

Geikel and Butkus both predicted that a large number of the caucusgoers turned out in support of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who gained three delegates to Clinton’s one at this precinct.