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Iowa Caucus 2024: everything you need to know

The Iowa Caucuses mark the beginning of the Presidential Primary election process. Here is a run-down of everything you need to know before you participate.
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Kaelyn Rickels
Iowa is one of nine states that will be holding a caucus, as opposed to a primary election.

The Iowa Caucuses are fast approaching, acting as the official kick-off to the presidential primary election. This process can be difficult and confusing, especially for first-time voters. 

What is a caucus? How do they work?

In presidential elections, caucuses are meetings run by political parties to determine the presidential nominee for the Democratic and Republican parties. They do not serve to directly elect a candidate, but instead, they determine the number of delegates pledged to vote for a candidate at a party’s national convention. Delegates are awarded to each candidate proportionally, based on the results of the statewide vote. Each party holds a convention, typically in August, where delegates from each state confirm the candidates chosen through the caucuses and primary elections.

For Democrats, the Iowa Caucus will be operating differently than in years past. Instead of in-person voting, registered Iowa Democrats will be able to mail in their vote for the presidential nominee. An in-person caucus will still be held on January 15, but it will function solely as a meeting to conduct party business. Mail-in ballots can be requested and returned until March 5, when results will be announced.

For Republicans, the caucusing process is relatively straightforward. After arriving and checking in at their designated caucusing location, caucusgoers hear speeches by community members and political activists attempting to persuade support for specific candidates. Once those speeches are complete, ballots are passed out, and caucusgoers submit the name of their preferred candidate. Once all ballots are cast, the results are recorded and reported to the Iowa Republican Party officials. 

Who is running? Who are they?

Democrats 

  • Joe Biden (Incumbent) – Biden is the current president. Prior to serving as president, he held office as vice president under President Barack Obama and as a Delaware Senator. 
  • Marianne Williamson – Williamson is an author and political activist who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2020. 
  • Dean Phillips – Phillips is a politician and businessman who represents Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district in the US House of Representatives.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump – Trump is a businessman and media personality who served as the 45th president of the US from 2017 to 2021. 
  • Nikki Haley – Haley is a diplomat and politician who served as Governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017. She then served as a US ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018.
  • Chris Christie – Christie served as the Governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018. Prior to that, he served as the US Attorney for New Jersey from 2002 to 2008.
  • Asa Hutchinson – Hutchinson served as the Governor of Arkansas from 2015 to 2023. Prior to that, he held several roles in the Bush administration and represented the 3rd congressional district of Arkansas in the US House of Representatives.
  • Vivek Ramaswamy – Ramaswamy is an entrepreneur who founded a pharmaceutical company, Roivant Sciences, in 2014. He also co-founded Strive Asset Management, an investment company.
  • Ron DeSantis – DeSantis is the current Governor of Florida, serving in this role since 2019. Prior to that, he represented Florida’s 6th congressional district in the US House of Representatives from 2013 to 2018.
  • Ryan Binkley – Binkley is a businessman and pastor. He is co-founder and lead pastor of the Create Church in Richardson, Texas. He is also the founder and CEO of the Generational Equity Group, an investment banking company.

How do I participate?

To participate in the Iowa Caucuses, you must be registered to vote. Iowa law prohibits participating in more than one party’s caucus, so you must be registered as the party whose caucus you wish to participate in. Registered Independents can not participate in the caucus. You can participate in the 2024 Iowa Caucuses at 17 if you will be turning 18 before the 2024 presidential election on Nov. 5, 2024.

To register to vote you must be at least 17 years old and an Iowa resident. Voter registration both in-person and online requires an Iowa Driver’s License or Non-operators ID. To register online, fill out this form. To register in person, return a completed copy of this form to your local county auditor (find that information here). 

The Iowa Caucus will take place on January 15 at 7PM. Each precinct has a location for the Democratic and Republican Caucuses, respectively. Information about your precinct’s Republican caucus is located here. Information about the in-person Democratic Caucus is located here. For registered Democrats wishing to mail-in their presidential preference, you can request a presidential preference card online here, or fill out a printable request form here to mail in to the Iowa Democratic Party. While a preference card is able to be requested online, all ballots must be submitted in the mail and postmarked by March 5 in order to count.

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About the Contributor
Kaelyn Rickels, Website Manager
Kaelyn is a junior and this is her second year on staff. At Liberty, she participates in softball, Garden Club, and NHS. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time outside, reading Stephen King, and watching nature documentaries.