What is a Caucus?
In Iowa, the caucus is an important part of the political process. At the caucus, voters choose their party’s presidential candidate. Community members who attend the caucus can also bring up new ideas for the parties to consider. People can also be chosen to do specific jobs within the party. Attending the caucus is an important part of the political process. Iowa’s caucuses happen at the beginning of the year before the presidential election – this year, in January.
In Iowa, the two main political parties organize their own caucuses. This means there is a Democratic caucus and a Republican caucus. In 2024, Democrats will not choose their presidential candidate at the in-person caucuses on January 15. The presidential candidate for the Iowa Democratic Party will be selected through mail-in voting. The in-person caucuses for the Iowa Democratic Party will only focus on party business. During the in-person 2024 Republican caucuses People will choose who they want their presidential candidate to be on January 15 and any new party business will be brought up at that time as well.
How to Attend a Caucus
There are some important things to know if you want to attend your caucus.
In order to attend your caucus:
- You need to be registered as a Democrat if you are attending a Democratic caucus
- You need to be registered as a Republican if you are attending a Republican caucus
- You can register at your caucus location
- You need to be 18 years old on or before November 5, 2024.
- You must be in line to enter your caucus location by 7 pm. If you are not in line or in the caucus location by 7 pm, you will not be allowed to caucus.
- You must live in the precinct of your caucus location.
You must have proof of ID. This could be a voter ID. You can receive this when you register to vote if you do not have a driver’s license.
How to Find Your Caucus Location
Check your precinct as the Secretary of State website linked below.
If you are attending a Democratic caucus:
Check your precinct at the Secretary of State website, then find your caucus location at the Iowa Democratic Party website linked below.
If you are attending a Republican caucus:
Check your precinct at the Secretary of State website, then find your caucus location at the Republican Party of Iowa website:
How to Request Accommodations at Your Caucus
If you are attending a Democratic caucus
You must request an accommodation for in-person caucuses by January 2; you can also email or call for assistance with the presidential preference process: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (515) 216-3893.
If you are attending a Republican caucus:
While the Republican Party of Iowa has not specified how to request accommodations, their website lists the following contact info for general inquiries: call (515) 282-8105 or visit their website linked below.
This year, the in-person Democratic caucus is on January 15. The caucus will only discuss party business. Party business includes selecting or volunteering to be one of the party delegates who attend county conventions. It also includes bringing or supporting new ideas for the party to focus on. These new ideas are called “planks.” Each idea or “plank” creates the party’s “platform.” The party “platform” is the collection of all the ideas or goals the party believes in and works toward.
This year, the Democratic party will select its presidential candidate through a mail-in process. To vote in this mail-in process, you will need to request the presidential preference card by visiting their website. The card must be mailed back to the Democratic Party by February 19 to participate. This means Democrats in Iowa will send in a card to vote for who they want the Iowa Democratic Party to say they support.
The Republican caucus is on January 15, and will deal with party business and presidential candidate selection. At the Republican caucus, the presidential candidate will be selected by a paper balloting or vote-counting process as usual. So, if you are a Republican and want to select the candidate you want for president, you will need to attend the caucus in person.
Is there caucus information not listed here or do you have questions?
Contact our Voting Rights Advocate to answer all of your questions today.
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