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AARP hosts statewide caucus education event on changes for voters

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - There's less than two months away from the first in the nation, Iowa Caucus, which brings the question of are voters prepared on the new caucus information?

AARP is help helping Iowans brush up on their Caucus knowledge with bipartisan events statewide. Over the weekend, Shores Event Center hosted Caucus and Tap, where AARP members got to sip and eat while playing trivia on the latest information.

One of the first things discussed by Republican and Democratic delegates is that the Iowa Caucus is not an election, but an entirely new race all together.

"Some people think there's just the Democratic Caucus so we are reminding folks there's both opportunities for both parties," says AARP Advocacy Director Anthony Carroll. "I think one of the big questions or clarifications is that these caucuses are run by party officials."

This means that a party registration will suffice. You can't register as no party, to be apart of either caucus you can shop up to any caucus location unregistered, but you must then register with that party. Also, Iowans can't partake in both Democratic and Republican caucus.

Another big factor Iowans should be aware of is their Caucus location. Their caucus location probably won't be your 2020 primary and general voting locations.

"Where you caucus for the primary and general election is probably not where you caucus," says Carroll. "You need to go to the democratic website or the republican website or call them to find out where to caucus."

At your Caucus location you can change you party registration. Also, you don't have to be 18 to be apart of the caucus voting. Voters must be 17 to be apart of the caucus, and be 18 by the time of the election.

The big difference is how parties caucus. While Republicans use a straw poll, Democrats use alignment. In the Democratic Caucus candidates must achieve a minimum percentage of the caucus-goers at their location for their support to be deemed viable.  The viability threshold is set normally at 15%.  

However, Democrats are changing it up this time around, they're changing how they count participants.

"We're going to be handing out presidential preference cards, and the intent of those is to provide a paper record of what happened in the room that night," says Valeria Smith Linn County Democrats 1st Chair.

AARP's next stop in Eastern Iowa will be in Waterloo and Dubuque tomorrow.

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Vinny Lowerre

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