Are you ready to Caucus?

Why should you Caucus?

For more than four decades, presidential candidates have come to Iowa to test the electoral waters. That’s because the Iowa caucuses serve as the first contest in the nation on the road to the White House.

On Feb. 3, Iowans will be the very first citizens to cast a vote in the presidential nominating process.  It has become a crucial test of strength for candidates to do well at the Iowa caucuses. A strong showing helps to build momentum in the states that follow.

Iowa’s electoral process represents authentic grassroots activism that’s strengthened by engagement and education with voters.

Here’s your Monday night playbook

by Marianne Gasaway

It has been described as a statewide neighborhood meeting, of sorts— Caucus night in Iowa.  Schools, community centers, libraries and even homes throughout the state on Monday night, Feb. 3, will be host to those who want to discuss the presidential candidates and make their choice.

If you are hesitating to take part in the caucus process, rest easy.  We’ve got you covered.  Here’s a breakdown of what happens at a caucus.

The Democrats

Across Iowa, 1,683 Democratic caucuses will be held at more than 1,000 locations. They start at 7 p.m. and are expected to last at least one hour and most likely more.   

Voters sign in on pre-printed forms listing all registered party members in their precinct. Those who are not registered with the party may register at the door, so caucus participants need not be registered voters ahead of time. No one is allowed to participate without becoming a registered party member.  For the first time ever in 2020, Iowa Democrats were allowed to check-in early for their precinct caucus.  However, pre-registration was required by Jan. 17. This is also the first year Iowa Democrats who cannot attend their precinct caucuses will be able to attend a satellite caucus at one of 97 additional caucus sites across the state and globe.

Unlike a primary election, the costs of the precinct caucuses are borne by the parties, not the state. One result is that one of the first activities of any precinct caucus is to “pass the hat” to raise funds for the county and state party. But also unlike a primary election, vote counting is done by the parties, not government officials.

To read more of this article, please login or sign up for our E-Edition

Comments are closed.