While it is unclear whether the hype on campus about the presidential election will translate into students actually turning out to caucus this weekend, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) has estimated it will be shuttling 42 students to the Brunswick caucuses. Five Republicans are signed up to attend the Saturday Republican Caucus, and 37 Democrats are signed up for the Sunday Democratic Caucus. Other students may also be walking or driving to Brunswick Junior High School where the Democratic caucus is being held.

“I think it’s really going to be a [problem], especially if there’s partying this weekend—people won’t want to go if they’re hungover,” said Nick Walker ’16. Walker is a leader of Bowdoin Students for Bernie, a student group that supports Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s candidacy for president. 

Maine is one of only 13 states whose parties use caucuses instead of primaries. Voters must show up to their meeting place—Brunswick Junior High School for Democrats and Greely Middle School in Cumberland for Republicans—where people will give speeches for and against candidates.

Republicans vote via ballot while Democrats will publicly stand in different parts of the room depending on who they support. Based on these votes, the number of delegates allocated to that caucus will be divided in proportion to the support that each candidate has received. If a candidate has too few supporters to qualify for a delegate, those voters have an option to switch candidates.

Student organizers on both sides of the aisle worry that the unique nature of the caucus system may ward off or confuse students and reduce participation rates. 

“It’s sort of how you would elect third grade student council,” said Emma Kane ’18, a Hillary Clinton supporter who will be caucusing in her hometown of Portland.

While both polls and student organizers are unsure which Democrat will win in Maine, both Walker and Kane indicated that the youth vote will be a major factor in deciding the election for Sanders or Clinton.

Kane thinks that the youth vote will tilt Brunswick toward Sanders, but she’s hopeful that other towns with older voters will help secure Maine for Clinton.

“I would be super excited if we could get maybe a fourth [of Bowdoin students voting in the Democratic caucus]. It’s very hard to tell. Hillary Clinton supporters have been quieter in this election,” said Kane. “I don’t know how they’re feeling up north—they vote really strangely up there.”

Jack Lucy ’17, chair of the Bowdoin College Republicans, explained that while he has heard many students will be driving themselves, the BSG-sponsored voter shuttles are integral to student turnout. Lucy expects between 10 and 20 caucus goers. 

Another Republican student, David Jimenez ’16, will be caucusing as the captain for the John Kasich campaign. He said that the race will be determined by turnout, which he estimates will be anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 statewide. 

Jimenez was demure about Kasich’s popularity on campus, referring to his support on campus as “basically just me wearing Kasich attire all the time.”

Bowdoin Democrats has not officially endorsed a candidate yet. Co-President Amanda Bennett ’17 said that the group’s goal for this weekend is just to get students to turn out for the caucus in big numbers.

Same day registration to vote in the caucus is legal in Maine, but student organizers have urged students to register beforehand or submit an absentee ballot if possible.

“The Brunswick caucus has one of the largest democratic lines in the state, and that line is almost always students registering last minute as Democrats so they can vote in the caucus,” said Kane.