Emporia State students experience Iowa caucus first-hand

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IOWA- (WIBW)- Emporia State University Political Science professor Dr. Michael Smith said a friend who teaches in Iowa allowed his class into the caucuses, so they took advantage of the opportunity.

A group of nine Emporia State University students, along with Professor Smith, traveled by van to Ames, Iowa Monday morning to observe the caucuses.

"We want to experience the democratic caucus first-hand. There is so much talk about caucuses! Some of us enjoy the political process, especially this year," says Smith.

"I've kind of always been interested in politics and having the opportunity to go to the Iowa caucuses when it's my first year, you know being able to vote in a presidential race, is cool and not many students can say they get to go to a caucus," says 19-year-old Payge Quintana, ESU sophomore.

"I really believe in civic engagement. I think it's so critical. I think it is great to vote. If you can get people started young, you can develop a lifetime habit," says Smith.

Professor Smith's students split into two groups, one went to the republican caucus, the other followed the democrats. The students have a variety of political opinions which they shared on Twitter with "#CorkysCaucus."Smith says they're even stirring up debate on some of the hot topics.

"Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are such unusual candidates, is this for real? Could one of both of them actually win in Iowa? Or win nationally and actually be President? That's one of the things we are really watching," says Smith.

Without question, Payge says she plans to vote for Bernie Sanders.
"He just seems to have the younger generation in mind. It kind of feels nice to be noticed for once instead of being overlooked," she says.

After they return, Professor Smith and the students plan to create a video explaining how caucuses work before the Kansas caucus March 5th.