Iowa Democrats propose ‘satellite’ mini-caucuses on February 3, 2020
DES MOINES — After national party leaders raised security concerns and rejected the Iowa Democratic Party’s plan for “virtual” caucuses, Iowa Democrats have come up with a plan for “satellite” caucuses.
Satellite voting is a familiar term for Iowans who have cast General Election ballots at “satellite” locations like churches, schools and even grocery stores before Election Day. For the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, though, the Iowa Democratic Party approved four “satellite” precincts on Caucus Night.
Tonight, the Iowa Democratic Party’s governing board unanimously approved a plan to significantly expand “satellite” caucus locations on February 3rd. Iowa Democrats may apply to establish a satellite site at places like factories, group homes or community gathering spots. A group of “neutral” party leaders who have NOT endorsed a presidential candidate will review the applications and decide which to approve.
Each satellite location will be like a “mini-caucus” — following the same rules and using the same reporting system as all the precinct meetings elsewhere.
This new plan to expand participation in the Iowa Caucus will be reviewed Friday by the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee.
Iowa Democratic Party news release below:
DES MOINES — Today, the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) released a proposed updated delegate selection plan for the 2020 Iowa Caucuses that fulfills the party’s goals of increasing voter participation and securely expanding accessibility. Significantly expanding on the existing satellite caucus structure, Iowa Democrats will have the opportunity to caucus during extended hours at a venue other than their assigned precinct location on February 3, 2020.
Keeping with the spirit of the DNC rules and regulations, this proposal will increase participation and make the caucuses more accessible for Iowans who have traditionally been unable to attend their in-person precinct caucus. The Iowa State Central Committee voted unanimously to move forward with the proposal, and it now goes to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee for review.
“Iowa Democrats have worked incredibly hard to make sure that the 2020 caucuses are the most successful in our state’s history. Organizers, activists and volunteers are preparing for the caucuses earlier than ever before to bring voters into our party, and satellite caucuses will build on that work while increasing accessibility on caucus night,” said IDP Chair Troy Price. “There are many challenges with developing a new system, especially in such a short period of time. And a satellite caucus system is the best possible solution to build on the great work of caucus organizers and keep focused on our goal of giving more Iowans a voice in our party and building momentum up-and-down the ticket in 2020. We look forward to discussing this proposal with the Rules and Bylaws Committee members.”
About the proposal:
• The 2020 satellite caucus proposal will allow for additional caucus locations on February 3 to expand participation for people who cannot attend their in-person precinct caucus.
• The IDP will expand the constituency engagement team to ensure the party is reaching communities across the state, as well as accessibility staff to make sure the caucus system works for all Iowans.
• Iowa Democrats can apply to hold a satellite site at places like factories, group homes, or community gathering places, to better accommodate people who cannot attend their in-person caucus. This option will be especially useful for shift workers, Iowans with disabilities, Iowans serving overseas, and students.
• The IDP will create a special satellite caucus review committee that will review applications and determine approval. The committee members will be appointed by the IDP Chair, and it will be comprised of SCC members who have pledged neutrality in the presidential race.
• Just like precinct caucuses, each satellite location will have a trained captain who is charged with overseeing the room, managing volunteers, and reporting the results on caucus night.
• The results will be reported using the same method as precinct caucus locations. The satellite caucuses will create one additional county in each Congressional District.