Preparing for politicking, parking, and protesting at UNI-Dome - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Preparing for politicking, parking, and protesting at UNI-Dome


Four years ago, caucus night turned a bit chaotic in Waterloo. Between traffic jams and lengthy check-in lines, many people never got the chance to cast their vote.

"I thought it was a little unorganized. I thought we had way more people than they were expecting, and you could tell because it was just chaos," caucus goer Jennie Reese told KWWL in 2008.

Black Hawk County GOP Chairman Garland "Mac" McDonald said, they've learned from their mistakes. This year, they're hosting the largest caucus in the state at the largest venue in Black Hawk County -- the UNI-Dome. They also have more than 70 volunteers on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly.

"We've been planning since late April, we tried to run through every possible thing that can happen," McDonald said.

There are a few key things organizers wanted to straighten out before Tuesday: where folks should park, how they'll find their precinct inside the dome, and keeping things orderly with such a large crowd.

"We've planned for protesters. We hope we don't get any, but if we do, we instructed our people just to keep going," McDonald explained.

They've designated a spot for protesters outside. They've also clearly laid out where caucus goers should park, enter, and line up. The plan is, Cedar Falls will fill the west bleachers, people from Waterloo will line up on the floor, and townships will sit on the east side bleachers. You should park in the corresponding lots, and leave large bags in your car.

"If they do bring their bags, we're going to search them," said McDonald. "We're looking for weapons, we're looking for pepper spray, we're looking for fog horns, signs. There will be no signs allowed in the dome."

The caucus starts at 7:00, but you're encouraged to come early. Organizers have secured a few candidates to speak when the doors open at 5:30.

"We've got 4-6,00 people going to be here. How do we get 4-6,000 people to come early? Have the candidates come," McDonald said.

McDonald knows something will come up they haven't covered. But he says that's okay, as long as everyone who wants to vote, is able to do so.

"Hopefully we'll launch a candidate to go on to be the next President of the United States," he added.

For a complete look at the Black Hawk County GOP Caucus information, click here.

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