Even after growing up in Iowa, Zach Noonan, a senior at Drake University, is gearing up to participate in his first caucus. Originally from Cedar Rapids, the Iowa Caucuses are known by Noonan, but participating will be a new adventure. The waiting has not been a choice, but due to many other reasons. Finally, Noonan will have his chance to use his voice in a unique way of caucusing.
Since turning eighteen, Noonan describes “being interested and involved in politics in Iowa.” However, the caucuses just never worked out. “It isn’t due to a lack of interest; it just is a rare thing, and in 2020, I was out of town,” Noonan says. Unfortunately, with the need for in-person voting, being out of town understandably makes it difficult to participate in the caucuses.
In-person voting has been recognized as an issue for Iowans who want to participate in the caucuses. In 2020, “satellite caucuses” were used for Iowans not physically present in the state or who could not make it to the usual caucus time in the evening. Iowans who live in a different state part-time or even out of the country can still be eligible to participate in the Iowa caucuses with satellite caucus sites. For Noonan, he says, “Honestly, I did not know there was the option to participate even out of the state. I was in California visiting my sister, who lives there, and I am unsure if there was even one where she is. I guess I could have figured it out if I had known, but you probably want to caucus in Iowa for the first time, right?” One thing is for sure: many Iowans are proud of the caucuses, and participating for the first time in a different state just would not feel right.
In 2024, Noonan is looking forward to actually participating. He describes his last involvement as “when [he] was 14. [He] ran a sign-up table with [his] parents, but that has been it.” Now, At 22 years old, he says, “I just want to see what it’s like. I now have the opportunity to participate, and they’re obviously important, so it’ll be pretty exciting to see and experience.”
Finally, I asked Noonan what he was looking forward to on January 15th. “I’m not really sure,” he says. “Probably just people-watching. I don’t really have someone I am caucusing for super passionately. I obviously will caucus for someone, but I am not too intense about it,” he laughs.