/Iowa Dems pitch holding caucuses in factories, group homes

Iowa Dems pitch holding caucuses in factories, group homes

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An Iowa Democratic Party proposal aims to expand the caucus sites and accommodate those who are unable to show up to their local precincts. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Iowa Democrats want to create satellite locations for their 2020 presidential caucuses in places as varied as group homes and factories, as they try to make the contest more accessible.

A new proposal from the state party, made public Thursday, aims to expand the caucus sites and accommodate those who are unable to show up to their local precincts on Feb. 3, 2020 — voters like shift workers, people with disabilities, military personnel and students. As it stands, caucus-goers must turn up in person to their local precinct in order to take part in the event, which can often take several hours. Those interested in holding a satellite caucus would have to submit an application to a review committee, which would make a determination.

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The proposal, which must still go before a Democratic National Committee panel, came after the DNC scrapped Iowa’s earlier plan for telephone-based “virtual caucuses,” amid security concerns.

The decision, which also scuttled Nevada’s virtual caucus proposal, stirred frustration among Democrats in both states after they spent months developing plans to fulfill a new DNC requirement to expand caucus accessibility. Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price helped shepherd through the alternative after the party was given just two weeks to come up with one.

“There are many challenges with developing a new system, especially in such a short period of time,” Price said in a statement Thursday. “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.”

The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee is expected to take up the proposal on Friday.

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