For the first time in Iowa state history, five local mosques will be official caucus locations.
As Dean Obeidallah, with the Daily Beast, writes:
“… caucuses are usually held at schools, churches and community centers but this year the Iowa Democratic party invited others to apply to expand the number of caucus locations in an effort to increase participation. That led Elvir Klempic [a Democratic and Muslim activist] and a few others in the community to petition that mosques to be included as caucus sites. The Democratic party agreed and this Monday five different mosques in the Des Moines area will be official satellite caucus locations.
Klempic, who immigrated to the United States as a child from Bosnia, explained that in past years turnout in the Muslim community was not been great, in part since many—while now U.S. citizens–are immigrants from countries that don’t hold elections. Adding to the confusion was the unique way of voting in Iowa. “What is a ‘caucus’?!” is a question asked to Klempic by many in the community.
But by holding a caucus at the mosques they attend, complete with translators who speak their native language, Klempic’s hope is that it will inspire even more to vote. And so far he has seen the most interest ever from the Muslim community in the 2020 campaigns, from volunteering to even working on campaign staffs.