Iowa caucuses: How to find your caucus site, register and be informed about the candidate you want to support
The Iowa caucus is sure to be competitive this year. But what makes caucuses different from primaries? Des Moines Register
The Iowa caucuses are Monday, Feb. 3, 2020.
Much of the attention this year has been on the Democratic candidates running for the nomination and the opportunity to challenge President Donald Trump.
The caucuses begin at 7 p.m. at most locations (you have to be in line by 7 p.m. to participate). It's a good idea to arrive early, especially if you need to register at the door. This year, some Democratic satellite caucus locations begin earlier. However, some of those sites require preregistration and some of those deadlines have passed.
Iowa caucus: Live Democratic results and alignment tallies
Here's how to find your caucus site and what you need to know to participate:
Do I need to be registered to vote?
Yes, you must be registered as a member of whichever party with whom you plan to caucus on caucus night. Caucusgoers can register or change party affiliation at the door on caucus night. Check your registration online. To participate you must be at least 18 years old by Nov. 3, 2020.
Registered caucusgoers do not need an ID to participate. To register at the door, bring an ID or a piece of mail with your name and address on it as proof of residence.
Where do I caucus?
Each voting precinct is assigned a caucus location; however, the caucuses are often not held at your usual polling place. Find your polling place through The Iowa Democratic Party or the Republican Party of Iowa.
Some locations will host caucuses for multiple precincts on caucus night, so it'll be helpful to know your precinct number so that you caucus with the right group. The Secretary of State's website will tell you which precinct you belong to — just enter your address and zip code.
Need a ride to your precinct Monday? DART has central Iowa caucusgoers covered, free of charge
What will happen at the caucus?
At the caucuses, participants will discuss their presidential preferences, elect local party leaders and discuss issues that make up the party’s platform. The caucuses may last a few hours.
Changes in the 2020 Democratic caucus
Two counts: In previous cycles, caucusgoers could realign multiple times. Starting this year, there is only one realignment and people who supported a viable candidate cannot vote again.
Satellite caucuses: For the first time in 2020, Democrats have allowed caucuses at dozens of satellite locations, both in Iowa and in other states and three other countries, to allow people who could not caucus at 7 p.m. at their assigned precinct in Iowa to participate. Some of those satellite caucuses start earlier or later than 7 p.m. and require preregistration (deadline to do so has passed.)
How should I decide who to caucus for?
The Des Moines Register has a number of resources to help you understand where the numerous Democratic candidates stand on the issues.
- Voter guide: Don’t have a lot of time? Find FAQs on the key issues, where the candidates stand and more to make your vote matter.
- Candidates on the issues:Find out how the 2020 presidential candidates plan to tackle health care, climate change, gun violence and more
For Democrats, if your preferred candidate doesn't have enough support in the first round, you may want to consider having an alternative candidate to support.
- Second choices: How Iowans will decide where to offer support if their favorite candidate doesn't make the cut.
Where do I find results?
Another key change for Democrats this year: Democrats will make public the raw vote numbers from the first and second alignments, as well as the delegate strength candidates have. In previous years, the party only reported the delegate strength.
The Des Moines Register will be offering detailed statewide and county-by-county results for both the Democrats and Republicans.
- Download the Register's app and enable push alerts for notifications as live coverage and results happen.
- Follow the Register on Facebook to see key stories, photos and videos from Caucus Day and more.
- Follow the Register on Twitter for live coverage, updates from reporters with the candidates and at caucus sites and more.
- Subscribe to the Register for unlimited coverage of all the news and analysis related to the Iowa caucuses.
Other helpful links to understand the caucus process and history
Why is Iowa first? A brief history of the state's caucuses
All the history: Past results, photos and key moments from the Iowa Caucuses
Newsletter:Sign up for daily updates on the caucuses, candidates and more
Katie Akin is a politics reporter for the Register. Reach her at email@example.com or at 515-284-8041. Follow her on Twitter at @katie_akin.
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