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Democrats Propose Changes to Iowa Caucuses

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Having a say in who wins Iowa on caucus night isn't as easy as submitting a ballot.

To have your voice heard, you need to have two hours available on a week night around the dinner hour, and a way to get to the local school or church hosting your precinct.

It's a process that has opponents of Iowa's caucus process calling foul.

"People have to work, people who are out of town on business, people deployed in the military, people who can't find a babysitter have been historically left out of the caucus process,” said Kathie Obradovich, a political columnist with the Des Moines Register.

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Scott Brennan says the concerns of the people aren't falling on deaf ears.

"We always look at the caucuses before every cycle and take a look to see if there is anything we can do to make them better,” said Brennan.

In a meeting with the Democratic National Committee this morning, Brennan proposed several changes the party believes would allow more people to participate.

One idea would involve creating satellite locations making it easier for people with mobility issues or who live far away from their precinct to find a closer location.

"It's just a way to see if we can’t get a few more folks who want to participate the opportunity to do so,” Brennan told Channel 13 News.

While the logistics are still being worked out, a second suggestion would allow for military members stationed overseas to participate via a tele-caucus.

"They are sacrificing so much for us. We need to do something to allow them to participate,” said Brennan.

Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann wouldn't comment specifically about the Democrat’s proposal, but says it is likely when the GOP goes to the drawing board, our armed forces will be a priority.

"Republicans have shown an interest to me through conversations in the past in reaching out to military personnel,” said Kaufmann.

Another part of the Democratic proposal involves working with legislators to require employers to allow non-essential employees the time off to participate. It's an idea that has failed in the past.

Democrats will submit a final proposal to the Democratic National Committee sometime in early 2015.

As for Republicans, Kaufmann says he will meet with the Republican National Committee as well as Brennan sometime in August to begin hashing out plans.


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