The cafeteria at Timpview High School was packed with Utah County voters from Provo, Orem and Lindon last night for the Utah Democratic Caucus.
“I did not expect this,” Utah County Democratic Party Chair, Will Matheson, exclaimed to the crowd. “When I called Timpview High School back in January I said I would be surprised if more than 250 people show up and it looks like we have about 450.”
For some attendees, like BYU student Annelise White from Greenville, N.C., this was their first time attending a caucus meeting.
“I’ve wanted to become more involved in local and state politics,” White said. “Also, I live here at school more than I do in North Carolina, and I’ll be in Utah for the next several years.”
Others, like Jennifer Jones from Park City, were there to gain more knowledge about the Democratic Party in Utah by getting involved at the grassroots level.
“I’m a registered Republican,” Jones said. “I just want to get both sides and really make a decision about what I am. My parent’s are Republican, but my brother is a Democrat, and so I really want to decide for myself.
Aaron Thompson, a freelance photographer from Orem, also hoped to become more informed at last night’s meeting though this was not his first caucus attendance.
“I’m hoping to shore out who the state and local government candidates are tonight.” he said. “I was pretty involved in the last cycle, but this cycle I’m not sure who we’re looking at and who I want to support.”
While many of the attendees were looking for information on the nominees and potential candidates, the goal of the night seemed to be simply getting people involved.
One gubernatorial candidate, Peter Cooke, did have a spokesman there who gave a quick and encouraging speech to the crowd saying that with enough involvement, he could win the election.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, a welcome from Matheson and the quick speech from Cooke’s spokesman, the crowd divided into house districts and then precincts to elect a precinct chair, a state delegate, a secretary and a treasurer.
Despite the unexpected size of the crowd, some precincts only had one attendee.
Two BYU students, Jordan Radford and Sabrina Franks, made up the entirety of their precinct as residents of Heleman Halls. Radford was chosen to be their state delegate and to attend the state convention in April.
“I hope that forces me to get educated about local politics.” said Radford.
Provo Resident and Precinct Leader Chip Oscarson, agrees that voters need to know that candidates and the issues no matter their party.
“So many people go in and vote straight ticket,” he said. “That’s where you go in and you don’t even have to look at any names, you just vote party line. I think that’s irresponsible.”
You can follow the Utah County Democrats on Twitter at @UtahCountyDems or on their website, utahdemocrats.org.