The Presidential Election season officially kicks off Monday, February 3rd with the 2020 Democratic Iowa Caucuses. This event is one of the most anticipated, and arguably the most important part of the 2020 Presidental Election cycle.
What Is A Caucus?
The overall process of a Caucus can be somewhat complicated or confusing. It is not an election, rather it is a forum whereby citizens have an opportunity to discuss issues of importance with the party and show support for a specific candidate. Caucuses vary by state and Party.
A general description offered by USA.gov describes Caucuses as private meetings run by political parties. They’re held at the county, district, or precinct level. In most, participants divide themselves into groups according to the candidate they support. Undecided voters form their own group. Each group gives speeches supporting its candidate and tries to get others to join its group. At the end of the process, the number of voters in each group determines how many delegates each candidate has won.
What Is An Iowa Caucus?
Caucuses can be opened, closed or hybrid. Iowa Caucuses are ‘Closed’, meaning only voters registered with that party can take part and vote. So, exactly What Is An Iowa Caucus is best explained in the video link from MSNBC. Why is it so important? There are several reasons why the Iowa Caucuses are so important. The most obvious, it’s the first opportunity for voters to voice their views on who the Presidential Nominee should be for a specific party. The Candidate coming out of Iowa Caucuses with the most delegates may be a key indicator for the party’s Presidential Nominee.
Ballotpedia.org offers information on the Delegate Selection process that helps voters understand additional aspects of the Caucus process. According to Ballotpedia delegates are individuals chosen to represent their state at their party’s national nominating convention. They are typically party activists, local political leaders, or early supporters of a particular presidential candidate. They are either selected in primaries, caucuses, or local party conventions or included because of their positions as elected representatives or members of the party leadership. Iowa awards 49 delegates, of which 41 are Pledged Delegates allocated on the basis of the results of the caucuses.
Some good key facts to know when attending the caucuses offered by UCLU Iowa below. Visit their link for more information.
- The caucuses start at 7:00 p.m. sharp! Arrive early, because once the caucus starts, late-comers will not be allowed in.
- You must be registered to the party for which you are caucusing. That means you must be a registered Democrat to participate in the Democratic caucus, and you must be a registered Republican to participate in the Republican caucus.
- If you are not registered to a party or are registered to a different party, you can still caucus. You can change your party registration at your precinct caucus.
- You must reside in the precinct where you are caucusing.
- You must be eligible to vote. If you have not registered to vote yet, you will be able to do this at your precinct caucus.
- You must be 18 years old by election day.
- Precinct caucus may last anywhere from an hour to several hours, depending on the size of the caucus. You are allowed to leave at any point.