Students stand with a Bernie sign as they participate in a mock caucus.
Emilie Rodriguez / The Nevada Sagebrush Students holding a “Student for Bernie” sign participate in a mock caucus. The mock caucus, hosted by ASUN, was held on Feb. 6.

ASUN hosted a mock caucus on Thursday, Feb. 6 in an effort to teach students about the caucusing process. 

Students ran through the mathematical procedure behind caucusing and practiced the steps of grouping up with their candidate of choice. 

The mock caucus was hosted in the Joe Crowley Student Union. One room was for the prospective Democratic candidates, while another room used Disney characters as candidates due to the Republican party not holding a caucus for the 2020 presidential election. 

“This is going to be my first caucus,” said Stevie Applewhite, a junior at UNR. “The gist I’ve gotten on caucusing…on the main day you show up, say I’m here, and say this is why.”

Applewhite is a passionate Bernie supporter who is excited to participate in the Nevada caucus in 2020, and believes Bernie has a good shot. 

“I’m hoping Bernie will get it. He’s doing pretty well in the state,” said Applewhite. 

Most students in attendance were under the age of 18 during the 2016 presidential election, making the mock caucus their first exposure to the voting process. 

“I’m curious as to what it’s all about, I’m not really here for a specific candidate,” said Leah Ramsey-Kruse, a sophomore at UNR.  

It was also Ramesy-Kruse’s first time participating in the caucus. Even though Ramsey-Kruse wasn’t there with a specific candidate in mind, she participated in the Republican mock caucus along with her campus club, the Young Americans for Liberty.  

Students were encouraged to show up to Nevada’s early caucusing dates with their top three candidates in mind. 

At a real caucus, students can voice their preferred candidate and group up with others who support the same candidate. After the doors are closed to the caucus, individuals will be asked to physically stand by their preferred candidate. They are then counted and the candidates that receive 15 percent or more participation are viable. Individuals have the opportunity to change their vote if their candidate is no longer viable. The numbers from early and non-early voting are counted and the winning candidate for that precinct will be announced.

“I was extremely happy to see equal participation for both the Republican and Democratic mock caucus,” said Haley Summers, ASUN’s coordinator for Student Engagement. 

Both rooms had roughly a dozen students, which enabled the mathematical process of caucusing to run smoothly. 

ASUN reached out to individuals and clubs in order to spread awareness of the mock caucus. Summers hopes to hold another mock caucus for students who didn’t participate in the first one. 

“I think the Iowa caucus has put caucusing on the radar,” said Summers. “Now that it’s in everybody’s minds, in the future we would want to do a lot more promotion.”

With 3 weeks remaining before the official Nevada caucus day, Summers recommends going to UNR’s early caucusing dates. If students are not registered to vote, they can register at any of the caucuses. If students wish to change their party affiliation, they can do that as well. If students don’t know their specific precinct for the Feb. 22 Democratic caucus, they can find that information at https://caucus.nvdems.com/ 

Emilie Rodriguez can be reached at oali@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.