The Iowa Caucus starts tonight at 7 pm. Since 1972 they have been the first major electoral event in the Presidential nominating process. Why do they go first? Iowa state law states that the caucus must be held “at least eight days earlier than the scheduled date for any meeting, caucus, or primary which constitutes the first determined stage of the presidential nominating process in any other state, territory, or any group which has the authority to select delegates in the presidential nomination.”
Apparently they also have the following success rate for predicting the candidate for President:
- 50% Republican
- 43% Democratic
They are different in that they are gatherings of neighbors who get together in their designated locations and declare their support for a candidate. Participants have to be inside their designated caucusing location at 7 pm. If you have any paperwork to fill out they recommend you get there 30 to 45 minutes early.
Here is a video that goes over the process for both Democrats and Republicans:
Below is a video done by the Bernie Sanders campaign that describes who is eligible and how the democratic caucus works:
To be eligible to caucus:
- Iowa resident or living in Iowa to go to school
- 18 years old by November 8, 2016
- A democrat or willing to change your voter registration on caucus night.
You can find your caucus location here:
- Democratic Party Of Iowa: http://iowademocrats.org/2016-democratic-caucus-locations/
- Republican Party of Iowa: http://yourcaucus.com/
An interesting aspect of the caucus is that a person the night before on the phone could say they will caucus for one candidate and then in the caucus change to support another.