PoliticsAmerica VotesPresidential Election


Iowa Makes It Kind Of Hard To Vote In Its Caucuses

You have to be free on Monday night. You have to be willing to register as a party member. Why bother voting in Iowa's caucuses?
Posted at 1:41 PM, Feb 01, 2016

Caucusing is ... complicated. 

"You can't do an absentee ballot for the caucus because you have to be there. ...  I would be there if I weren't on the road tomorrow," an Iowa resident said.  

If you want to participate in the Iowa caucuses, you've got to be willing to spend hours at a community meeting on a weeknight. 

"We have a small business so it's difficult to vote or to caucus when you have to make sure you're open. I mean, we run until 9," an Iowa business owner said.   

Let's say you are free Monday at 7 p.m. Iowa is a "closed primary" state. So if you're an independent, you're going to have to register as a Democrat or Republican in order to vote.  And, if you're a Democrat, there's another potential complication.

To vote, caucusgoers have to stand with supporters of their preferred candidate — making their political views known possibly to their neighbors and co-workers. 

Turnout isn't great for either party. On average, about 1 in 5 registered Iowa voters show up to caucus. 

So, for the campaigns, half the battle is just getting people to show up — hence the instructional YouTube videos. 

"How to caucus for Marco Rubio in three steps." 

"Caucusing for Hillary Clinton is easy as one, two, three." 

Of course, Iowa isn't the only state with low voter turnout, but it is the only state whose caucuses get this much this hype.