The Iowa Democratic Party is now accepting applications for “satellite” locations for the Iowa Democratic Party’s Caucuses on February 1, 2016.
“This is new,” says Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Andy McGuire, “and we’re trying to take steps to be more inclusive.”
These satellite locations will be in addition to the precinct level meetings Democrats will hold throughout the state.
These satellite “mini” caucuses are for Iowans who face some sort of hardship and cannot get to the precinct location for that evening’s party meeting. McGuire said the Democratic Party’s central committee will review the applications and grant those where a “sizeable number” of Democrats demonstrate a clear need for a “satellite” caucus location.
“Let’s say there’s 20 people who some are in walkers, some are in wheelchairs from a senior living facility on a February 1 night,” McGuire said. “That would make me think that’s a reasonable number.”
McGuire also expects workers in some Iowa businesses to ask for a “satellite” caucus location in their workplace because they don’t get enough time off during their shift to leave, participate in a precinct caucus and then get back to work.
“A break room might be a place where you can have that caucus,” she said.
Forms are now posted on the Iowa Democratic Party’s website for those who want to ask for a “satellite” caucus location.
To participants in previous Iowa Caucuses, Iowa Democrats and Republicans have had to attend a precinct meeting at sites designated by each party. The Republican Party of Iowa is not taking the same step Democrats are in offering satellite locations for participating in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. The Caucuses are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on February 1. Democrats at traditional precincts and at these “satellite” locations will all start the process of delegate selection at 7 p.m. that evening.
Democrats also plan to offer a new “tele-caucus” process for Iowa solders on active duty and Iowans who are living abroad. Details about how Democrats can qualify and participate in that electronic caucus will released in a few weeks.