The Iowa Caucus is a rite of passage for young people across the state, a beloved institution that holds its own with Snookie’s, Tasty Tacos, and our world famous Butter Cow. Coming together with our neighbors to shape the future of our country is a privilege, and a responsibility we take seriously as Iowans. We owe it to each other to work to make sure such important events are open to everyone.
As a person with a disability, and brittle bones that make navigating tight crowds dangerous, my local caucus certainly didn’t feel like an open, accessible place. Back in 2016, I distinctly remember my caucus location being a mess, with caucus goers packed to the gills in the caucus location. I felt trapped in the mass of people, and grew upset with the lack of accessible routes to restrooms and exits. Speakers only occasionally used the microphone, and a lack of ushers made navigating the space a frustrating and claustrophobic experience for someone of my height. Despite my initial excitement, my caucus experience was far less accessible than I had hoped. Unfortunately, many Iowans with disabilities faced the same barriers, and came away from the event with a sense of real frustration. That has to change. Caucuses must be more accessible. Our friends and neighbors deserve the chance to be a part of such a unique expression of democracy.
The Iowa Caucus is so special, the process so important, that we owe it to each other to make it the best in the nation, not just the first. Disability Rights Iowa is proud to work alongside the Iowa Democratic and Republican Parties to make this a reality. But we can’t do it alone. I invite you to sign our petition affirming our statewide commitment to open, accessible caucuses for all Iowans. To learn more about our #CaucusAccess efforts, visit our voting website.