Iowa Democrats prepare as caucus night grows closer


Iowa State Daily

A caucus staffer hands out name tags to registered caucus voters Feb. 1, 2016, in the Memorial Union at Iowa State. The name tags guaranteed official caucus members were the only votes being counted.

Jake Webster

Saturday marked 100 days until the Iowa caucuses.

The Democratic Party is preparing for large turnout in their caucuses and working on measures to help ensure more people are able to make their voice heard in the nominating contest.

The Iowa Democratic Party had previously planned on holding “virtual caucuses” so those unable to go to their precinct caucus site would be able to cast their vote electronically for their preferred candidates. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) nixed the state party’s plans in September.

“Obviously we were disappointed by the decision of the DNC […] but we understood concerns related to cybersecurity,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price. “This president and the Republicans in the Senate do not want to take up any measure related to cybersecurity.”

Following the setback of virtual caucuses, the party shifted to expand its “satellite caucuses” that were piloted in 2016. The satellite caucuses allow voters unable to make it to their assigned precinct caucus site to apply to host caucus sites in places like nursing homes or workplaces. Applications for potential satellite caucuses opened Oct. 18.

The various remaining presidential campaigns are also gearing up for the caucuses as the number of days until caucus night tick down.

Sen. Cory Booker’s campaign hosted a canvassing event in Ames early Saturday.

“No, you’re not dreaming: this weekend marks just 100 days until the Iowa Caucuses,” the Booker campaign said in a news release. “Cory 2020 organizers and volunteers will be launching canvasses in Iowa from river to river as part of a campaign-wide weekend of action to spread the word about Cory Booker’s vision to pull this country together by making sure no community is forgotten or left behind.”

The week also is set to include another Iowa caucus milestone alongside the 100 day mark, with the Iowa Democratic Party’s “Liberty and Justice Celebration” scheduled to host 14 of the 17 Democratic presidential candidates for speeches, the last time before caucus night that many candidates are expected to be at one venue in the state. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Rep. Joe Sestak and author Marianne Williamson are the three Democrats not scheduled to speak at the event.

“[‘The Liberty and Justice Celebration’] is really going to highlight the tremendous energy in our party,” Price said.