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Iowa Democratic Party proposes significant change for 2020 presidential election: 'Virtual caucuses'

The recommendation would allow participants to caucus using their phones or smart devices

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Iowa Democratic Party has proposed a significant change to presidential caucuses that would allow "virtual caucuses" for absentee voters.

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price unveiled the party's recommendations Monday during a conference call with reporters, according to the Des Moines Register. Participants would be able to caucus using their phones or smart devices.

"These changes will make the 2020 caucuses the most accessible, transparent, and secure caucuses ever, and give more Iowans a chance to have their say in our presidential selection process," Price said.

The state party reportedly spent months holding listening sessions on the best ways to implement the changes advised by the Unity Reform Commission, a panel with the Democratic National Committee.

How would it work?

Democrats would use a ranking system to caucus for their preferred candidates, the Register reported.

The results would be counted and apportioned by congressional districts. The votes would be added to the final results of the live precinct caucuses.

Virtual caucuses would take place over six days. Participants, using their phone or smart device, would submit a form ranking up to five candidates. Voters who registered to participate virtually would not be permitted to be part of the live caucuses.

The results would count for 10 percent of the state's overall delegate equivalents for each congressional district, according to the report.

What's the current process?

Currently, registered Iowa Democrats must attend their precinct meeting in person. The caucus attendees divide into groups based on the candidate they support.

Candidates must receive at least 15 percent of the attendees support to be viable. Non-viable candidate supporters are required to realign with the supporters of a viable candidate.

The party uses the results to determine the number of delegate equivalents each candidate would take into the state convention.

What else?

The public has 30 days to comment on the proposed change before it is sent to the state's central committee and the Democratic National Committee for approval.

Price described the proposal as the "most significant changes to the Iowa Democratic Party Caucuses since its inception in 1972," according to the Register.

One last thing…
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