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Martin O'Malley

In one Iowa town, democracy plays out in its own unique way

In this Iowa town, at precisely 7 p.m., Ward 2 Democratic precinct chairwoman Kathy Johnson kicked things off on an upbeat note.

"The cool thing about our caucus, you get a chance to publicly say which candidate you support and you get a chance to influence your neighbors," Johnson said to 105 people seated on folding metal chairs at Gates Memorial Hall, a few blocks from downtown Nevada, a community of 7,000 roughly 40 miles north of Des Moines.

"You will feel like you have been part of democracy."

And here is what democracy looks like in the town of Nevada and across Iowa: While Republicans cast private ballots, Democrats break into groups that...