New changes ahead of the Iowa caucus

Brett Bachtle
Updated: January 27, 2020 10:51 PM
Created: January 27, 2020 05:55 PM

(ABC 6 News) - On February 3, Iowans will be the first in the nation to cast a major vote in the 2020 presidential race during in the Iowa caucus.  

But, before you head out to caucus you need to know of some changes to the process this year.


Unlike a primary where voters cast ballots for their candidate of choice, during a caucus polling takes place in the open with people physically moving to the location of their preferred candidate.  The delegates are then awarded to the candidates based on who reaches a certain level of support by the end of the caucus.

This year new rules will change how the caucus is conducted and how numbers are reported.  For the first time, three sets of numbers will be reported at every caucus precinct: the number of people in attendance, the voters first candidate pick and their last candidate pick.  The final picks are the number of delegates that will be awarded to each candidate.

“Mathematically it could come out that they could get more caucusgoers aligning with them, but they may not get the largest number of delegates,” explained Cerro Gordo County Committee Caucus Chair Kris Urdahl.

Urdahl said the new numbers are comparable to election results in that one nominee may win the popular vote while the other might win the Electoral College and that more numbers reported means more than one candidate could be shown as winning.

Another big change coming this year is that caucusgoers who choose a viable candidate in the beginning will be locked in those groups for the rest of the night and might not be able to switch.

“If you are uncommitted and there are enough people in that uncommitted group, you are locked as an uncommitted individual, you cannot move to another group, which is a huge change,” Urdahl said.

Caucus leaders are urging any undecided caucusgoer to choose an unviable candidate at the beginning of the night so that you can switch groups later on.

Due to the number of people expected to caucus in Cerro Gordo County this year some precinct locations have recently been changed.  

You can verify your caucus location here.

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