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iowa caucuses


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What is a caucus?

The Iowa Caucuses are gatherings of neighbors where Democrats meet to organize their precinct for the upcoming election, discuss the issues important to them, and declare their Presidential preference. There are three main parts to the caucus:


  1. Introductory Business: During this time the caucus will elect the permanent chair and secretary, hear a message from the state party chair, hear from local elected officials, and if time allows hear from local candidates for office. 

  2. Presidential Preference: During this time you will determine viability, break into preference groups, and elect delegates to the County Convention. 

  3. Party Business: During this time you will elect members to the county central committee and discuss platform planks to the county convention.


How does a caucus work?

Caucuses represent democracy in action, and we expect a lot of moving around and lively dialogue between caucusgoers on February 3, 2020. 


Eligible caucusgoers divide to form Presidential preference groups—simply by standing in a section of the room devoted to their candidate. If a preference group for a candidate does not have enough people to be considered “viable,” which in most precincts is 15% of attendees, caucus-goers will have one more opportunity to join another preference group or acquire people into their group to become viable. Delegates are then awarded to the final preference groups based on their size. 


When do they take place?

All precinct caucuses will take place on February 3, 2020.  All caucusgoers MUST be in line no later than 7:00 pm CST to participate.


Who can participate?

Registered Iowa Democrats can participate in their precinct caucus. If you are not a registered Democrat you can register on caucus night at your precinct (including changing your party affiliation to Democrat). Young Iowans who will be 18 years old by November 3, 2020, may register and participate.


Where are the caucuses?

Caucusing happens in all 1,678 of Iowa’s precincts, plus 99 satellite sites around the world. Iowa Democrats must caucus in their assigned precinct. You can find your caucus location at:


What is early check-in? 

For the first time ever, Iowa Democratic caucusgoers can Check-In to their caucus early, saving time during the caucus night check-in process. Early check-in ends January 17, 2020. To learn more about Early Check-In, visit:


Can I register to vote at my caucus?

Caucusgoers are able to register or change party affiliation at the door. We encourage Iowans to pre-register ahead of the caucuses to help reduce crowded lines and avoid late-start times. Caucusgoers do not need an ID to caucus.


How can I prepare for the caucuses?


  1. Make sure you’re a registered Democrat in Iowa

  2. Check-in Early by January 17 to attend your caucus

  3. Find your caucus location

You can do all of that from this website!


How will we get the results?


On caucus night, Iowans in each precinct elect delegates to their county conventions. Using the information, the Iowa Democratic Party will release each candidate’s 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 on Feb. 3, 2020.


Additionally, the IDP will be releasing 1st alignment numbers and 2nd alignment numbers for each precinct.


What are the rules of the caucus?

Caucus rules are governed by the Iowa Democratic Party Delegate Selection Plan, the Iowa Democratic Party Constitution and state law.


How do I become a national delegate?


National Delegates are elected at the District Conventions on April 25, 2020 and at the State Convention on June 13, 2020.  Check out the National Delegate 101 for more information.

What happens if I get elected as a delegate on caucus night?


You are expected to attend your county convention on March 21, 2020, as a representative of your precinct and the preference group that elected you.


What positions are elected on caucus night?

  • Delegates to the County Convention (held on March 21, 2020)

  • Alternates to the County Convention (held on March 21, 2020)

  • Committee Members to help plan the County Convention

    • Platform Committee - writes the county platform draft

    • Committee on Committee - gets broken into Rules, Arrangements, and Credentials

  • Precinct Committee Persons - to serve on the County Central Committee for a term of 2 years


How do I make a suggestion for the IDP platform?


You should download and complete the Platform Resolution Submission Form and bring it with you on caucus night. Your caucus will discuss and vote on your resolution on caucus night.


Have a question that hasn’t been answered? 


That’s okay! Click here to let us know and a member of our team will be in touch with you soon!

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