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Caucus 101: What you need to know for Feb. 3

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On February 3, 2020, Iowans will gather in homes, schools and churches to take the first step in the process of nominating the next President of the United States.

The Iowa Caucuses are the "first-in-the-nation." Caucus is a term we hear all the time. But, how much do you know about the caucus process?

Here are the most important things to know for the country's first election in the 2020 presidential race.

Democratic Caucus

A Democratic caucus can take longer than a Republican caucus, due to their method of "voting." During the caucus, Democrats move to certain parts of the room, physically voting with their bodies.

After each campaign makes its pitch, democrats split up into "preference groups", which support a specific candidate. But, unless a "preference group" is made up of at least 15 percent of the people at that caucus, the group isn't viable. Those supporters can choose to re-align and support another candidate that's still "viable."

An advantage of this method, Iowans may say, is to promote engagement and communication with your community. Rather than a stagnant vote, there is a fluidity that allows for engaged discussion and persuasion.

The Iowa Democratic Pary will release three different results on Caucus Night.

Result 1: First Expression of Preference. This is the tally before the realignment takes place for candidates who don’t reach the 15 percent threshold.

Result 2: Final Expression of Preference. This is the tally after the realignment.

Result 3: State Delegate Equivalents. This is the ratio of state-to-county convention delegates determined by the final expression of preference at each caucus site. This has historically been the number used to determine the “winner” of the caucus.

Republican Caucus

For Republicans, the whole thing could be over in an hour.

The Iowa Republican caucus involves a regular secret ballot vote on presidential candidates. The totals will be tallied statewide to select a winner.

Where to Caucus?

There are a few constants in the caucus process. If you're eligible to vote for president, you're eligible to take part in a caucus. Anyone who will be 18-years-old by election day, November 3rd, 2020, can take part in the caucus. If you're not registered to vote, you can register at a caucus site. You also need to be registered as a member of the party for which you will caucus.

Wondering where you can caucus? Call your county auditor's office. They'll have a list. We also have links to websites that will help you find your caucus site. Democrats click here. Republicans click here.

For more caucus content, CLICK HERE.

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