Iowa caucus explained: How it works & what it impacts

US Politics

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Voting in the 2020 elections begins Monday night with the Iowa caucuses. This year’s caucuses are unique in the fact that multiple cities outside of Iowa are allowing Iowa’s residents to participate in the caucuses in a similar style to an absentee ballot.

Changes to the caucuses

While most Florida residents probably haven’t participated in a caucus, some part-time snowbird residents will have the opportunity to participate this year while staying in the Sunshine State.

For the first time, satellite caucuses will be held at 87 different locations around the world

Of the 24 being held in the United States, four will be in Florida. One of them is right in St. Petersburg.

In a statement, the Iowa Democratic Party called the opening of satellite offices the “most significant changes to the Iowa Caucuses since 1972.”

The changes were made in hopes of expanding transparency for the upcoming 2020 elections.

Iowa’s residents have cast the first votes in the presidential primary since the early 1970s.

Who can participate

Democrats who pre-registered with the Iowa Democratic Party will be allowed to participate in the caucus at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, located at 1901 62nd Avenue South in St. Pete.

Doors open at 4 p.m. and the location is expecting more than 100 participants.

How it works

Voters gather at churches, schools and community centers that make up more than 1,670 precincts.

Candidates present introductions and campaign platforms to voters. The voters then divide into groups based on who they think should be selected as the Democratic nominee.

Candidates who don’t receive at least 15 percent of participant support are deemed nonviable. Supporters of a nonviable candidate can either switch to supporting a viable candidate, combine with other small groups to surpass 15 percent, or they can choose to remain uncommitted.

Delegates from each precinct will then represent the Democratic part at county, district and state conventions, eventually narrowing down the group of delegates.

All of this leads up to July with the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where 49 delegates will participate in choosing the Democratic nominee.

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