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Democrats approve 99 satellite caucus locations in Iowa, U.S., overseas

Bernie Sanders supporters wait for the start of a Democratic precinct caucus in February 2016 at Center Point-Urbana Mid
Bernie Sanders supporters wait for the start of a Democratic precinct caucus in February 2016 at Center Point-Urbana Middle School in Center Point. For the upcoming 2020 caucuses, the Iowa Democratic Party has approved 99 satellite caucus locations. The goal is to make it easier for people to participate in the first-in-the-nation caucuses. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Iowa Democrats’ caucuses are branching out.

The Iowa Democratic Party has approved 99 satellite caucus locations across the state and country as well as three foreign locations in an effort to expand access and participation in the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

The party received 192 applications. Of those, 136 were complete and a party review committee approved 81 percent of them. There will be 71 satellite sites in Iowa, including five in Cedar Rapids and six in Iowa City. There will be 25 in other states and caucuses in France, Georgia and Scotland. In 11 cases, satellite sites were merged to accommodate larger numbers of participants.

For a complete list of satellite sites, visit https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/1L0w7K9JSzkTZRgPDRsrLvGagJVq5oLU6/page/ZRd9.

“From Paris to Palm Springs, Iowa Democrats will be caucusing on Feb. 3, 2020,” Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price said Wednesday. “Our goal has remained steadfast throughout this process — to make these caucuses the most accessible in our party’s history, and the satellite caucuses do just that.”

The satellite caucuses, tried in four locations in 2016, are the Iowa Democratic Party’s response to a Democratic National Committee directive that states that conduct caucuses instead of primaries find ways to make them more accessible.

“With the work being done by so many activists, volunteers and leaders not only here in Iowa, but across the country and around the globe, we are as confident as ever that these will be the most successful caucuses Iowans have ever seen,” Price said.

The satellite caucuses include 19 work-related sites, such as RWDSU Local 110 in Cedar Rapids. There will be 21 college campus sites, including Phillips Hall at the University of Iowa. Another 38 sites, including Walden Place Retirement Community and the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City, will accommodate accessibility needs. A dozen sites will accommodate language and culture needs, and nine sites will be for Iowans who spend their winters in other parts of the country.

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In some cases, the satellite caucuses will take place before the in-person caucuses. The Paris caucus, which will accommodate University of Iowa students studying abroad, will be at 2 p.m. The Tbilisi, Georgia, and Glasgow, Scotland, caucuses will be at 7 p.m. Central time.

In the case of some work sites and assisted living facilities, the caucuses were scheduled to accommodate shift work and dining schedules.

Satellite caucusgoers who attend an out-of-state satellite site — or an in-state satellite site that takes place before 6 p.m. Feb. 3 — must be registered Democrats and complete the online Satellite Caucus Preregistration by Jan. 17. Caucusgoers do not need to preregister to attend satellite caucuses that are in Iowa, open to the public and start after 6 p.m., with the exception of locations that are private for those residents or workers.

Iowans who attend an in-state satellite caucus that begins at 6 p.m. are able to change their registration at the caucus site.

Just like precinct caucuses, each satellite location will have a trained captain overseeing the room, managing volunteers and reporting results. The number of delegate equivalents from each satellite site will be based on attendance.

Each congressional district will have one additional “county” where the results from satellite caucuses will be reported. They will be weighted for participation. For out-of-state satellite caucuses, results will be reported through one additional “at-large” satellite caucus county that will be added at the state convention, weighted by participation.

The Iowa Democratic Party has secured 1,668 of the needed 1,678 precinct caucus locations. More than 1,700 Iowans have completed or are in training to be caucus leaders.

To learn more about participating in the caucuses, visit https://iowademocrats.org/2020-caucuses/.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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