DES MOINES — The January 15th Iowa Caucuses are just two months away.
Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann says over 10-thousand Republican volunteers will run the more than 1600 precinct meetings. “I think there’s the makings for a record setting Caucus here,” Kaufmann says. “A lot of this is anecdotal, of course. There’s no way for sure way to predict this kind of thing, but the energy that we’re hearing, the activity levels of the candidates that are still in the Caucus and I think there’s a general concern about where our country’s heading.”
Nearly 187,000 Republicans participated in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, a record. In 2024, Iowa Republican Caucus-goers will follow past practice and simply cast a straw poll ballot and those slips of paper will be counted in the room. Each campaign may have an observer watch the counting. The tallies from each precinct will be reported to the state party and Kaufmann says the results will be posted on a public website. “It’s going to be as close to real time as we can make it and every single vote will have a paper trail and every single vote can be audited and will be audited within two days,” Kaufmann says. “In fact, in 2016 we got that job done despite a blizzard.”
Republican officials at the county level decide what to use for the straw poll ballots and most will be using blank sheets of paper, but Kaufmann says a few will hand Caucus-goers a sheet with candidate names printed on it. Republicans will be conducting some party business at their Caucuses, but people will be able to leave after casting that straw poll ballot. “And that’s o.k., just so they’re there on January 15,” Kaufmann says.
You have to be a registered Republican and vote in person that night.
Iowa Democrats plan to hold in-person Caucuses on January 15th, too, but national party leaders decided South Carolina Democrats will vote first in their party’s presidential nominating process. Iowa Democrats will conduct party business at their 2024 Caucuses and the party has established a mail-in system for presidential preference cards. The results, though, won’t be announced until March.