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Announcement Coming Monday That Means Big Changes for Iowa’s Caucuses

Hillary Clinton addresses the Des Moines crowd claiming an Iowa Caucus victory (Sam Hoyle/WHO-TV)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa’s Caucuses draw national intrigue, high-profile visits and millions of dollars in revenue for the state. In 2020, they will bring changes, too, perhaps the most intense in nearly half a century.

Iowa Democratic Party officials plan an afternoon announcement Monday with details of changes for next year’s Caucuses, which are tentatively scheduled for February 3rd. The changes follow criticisms following the 2016 Caucuses that the current process makes it too difficult for some people to participate, as well as continued confusion over how the party tabulated the Caucus night winner.

Democrats have been studying changes which would allow more Iowans to participate off site, meaning they don’t have to physically attend the Caucus sites. In 2016, participants complained that some sites didn’t have enough space for everyone and others criticized the event because it restricts those who can attend a 7 p.m. event because of work, family obligations or physical limitations.

Supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders also ripped the process in 2016 after his narrow loss to Caucus night winner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In response, party leaders have pledged to make the process more transparent, so people have a better understanding of how Democrats tabulate the results.

A news release Sunday night from the Iowa Democratic Party stated:

“Over the last three years, the Iowa Democratic Party has been reviewing ways to increase accessibility, transparency, and participation in the Iowa Democrat Party’s Caucuses. The IDP has held thousands of hours of conversations with people from across Iowa and across the country – with volunteers, activists, party leaders, former campaign staffers and political scientists. The results of these conversations have resulted in the most significant changes to the Iowa Caucuses since its inception in 1972.”

Eleven Democrats have already announced plans to run for president or have formed exploratory committees (the step before a formal announcement) with more still considering a campaign.

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