2016 Iowa Democratic Party Precinct Caucuses

February 1, 2016: 7 p.m. CST


What are the Iowa Caucuses?

The Iowa Caucuses are organizational gatherings of neighbors, run by the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP), where Democrats meet to conduct party business and declare their Presidential preference. With our First-in-the-Nation status, Iowans have a unique opportunity through the caucuses to offer our recommendations on our party’s Presidential nominee to the rest of the country. Iowa Democrats take this responsibility seriously, and devote time and energy to meeting with the candidates and learning about their visions for our state and nation. The Precinct Caucuses are also the organizational foundation of the IDP. Democrats gather to elect delegates to the county convention, address key issues important to their communities, and elect local party leadership.

When were the first Presidential Iowa Caucuses?

Iowans have been caucusing for decades. Since 1972, the Iowa Caucuses have become the first major electoral event of the nominating process for U.S. President. Interestingly, “uncommitted” won the Democratic Caucuses in 1972 and 1976.

How many caucuses will take place across Iowa?

There will be 1,681 caucuses across the state, one in each precinct. Additionally, there will be one telecaucus, as well as an as-of-yet undetermined number of satellite caucuses. A final count of satellite caucuses will be determined in December.


Where are the Iowa Caucuses?

In communities in all 99 counties of our state. Find your caucus location here.

Who can participate in the caucuses? 

Any person who is eligible to vote in the state of Iowa and will be at least 18 years old on Election Day, November 8, 2016, may participate in the Iowa Caucuses. These Individuals must reside in the precinct in which they wish to participate, and they must be registered as a Democrat—party registration is available on caucus night.


Can press attend?

Yes—all caucus locations are open to the public and press.


How do the Democratic Caucuses work?

Eligible caucus goers divide to form Presidential preference groups. If a preference group for a candidate does not have enough people to be considered “viable,” a threshold set at the beginning of the night, eligible attendees will have an opportunity to join another preference group or acquire people into their group to become viable. Delegates are then awarded to the preference groups based on their size.


At the end of the night, who is determined as the “Winner” of the Iowa Caucuses?

On caucus night, Iowans in each precinct elect delegates to their county conventions, but the winner of the caucuses will be the candidate who accrues the most state delegate equivalents. State delegate equivalents are calculated using a ratio of state to county convention delegates. In other words, the ratio determines how many delegates the candidate would receive for the state convention based on the number of county convention delegates a candidate receives.


How are results reported?

Results from each of the 1,681 precincts will be reported to the Iowa Democratic Party by precinct chairs through a new mobile app, created through a partnership with Microsoft and Interknowlogy, that can be used on all major mobile platforms.  This app will allow the party to quickly flag any discrepancies, and then allow the IDP to provide secure, accurate, and timely results to both the public and members of the media.


For more information on how delegates are awarded on caucus night, please click HERE.

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