That's the junior high school where my precinct (and three others) met tonight to vote for presidential candidates. It was my first time caucusing. The date may be insanely early, but thanks to that, I could attend. Two Italian newspaper reporters walked over from our house with us to check out the Iowa caucus. The place was mad, crammed with people, far more than expected.
Our precinct had 554 people attend the party caucus. For the first time, we were pre-divided by candidates, although not actually counted until we'd clustered more distinctly into groups, with Edwards, Clinton, and Obama getting the bleachers and the "second tier" candidates clustering in groups at the front of the room. In the first round, the first tier candidates' supporters all formed viable groups. The rest did not. (15% of the attendees must support a candidate for their group to be viable. In our caucus, 83 people, were necessary to form a viable group.) Biden had something like 45, Richardson, 35, Kucinich 13, Undecided 16, and everyone else less. Most of the smaller groups went with Biden, which still wasn't viable, so most of them then joined Obama's camp. In the end, 5/9ths of our precinct's county delegates went to Obama.
It was a more entertaining process than I'd expected. There were chants and cheers and lots of t.v. cameras. I ran into lots of neighbors I hadn't seen in years. I had interesting conversations with people who happened to sit near me. C. came and took photos.
When we returned home, a message on our answering machine from a friend said we looked good on t.v. I don't know which channel it was.