2024 Iowa Caucus Information
Why do we caucus?
In presidential years, the caucus' most popular feature is the presidential preference poll. This is where hundreds of thousands of Iowans show up to formally begin the presidential nominating process for both major national parties. Both parties also conduct important business on caucus night. The precinct caucus is the ultimate grassroots function of Iowa politics, and it is where one is elected to a leadership position in one's county party, it is the first step to becoming a delegate to the county, district, state, or national convention, and it is also where changes to the party’s platform are introduced.
Who can participate?
To participate in an Iowa Republican or Democratic caucus, an individual must be a registered member of the party’s caucus that they are attending (cannot be registered as “No Party”) and must be 18 years old by Election Day (Tuesday, November 5, 2024) of the election year. Thus, a 17-year-old can participate as long as they will be 18 by November 5. He or she must also reside in the precinct that they are caucusing in.
When and where is my caucus?
Each precinct in Iowa will hold a Republican and Democratic caucus on January 15, 2024. It is best to arrive ahead of that time to ensure that you are properly checked in. Caucus sites are normally in public buildings such as churches, community centers, schools, or libraries. To find your Republican caucus location and learn more information about caucusing from the Republican Party of Iowa, click here. To find your Democratic caucus location and learn more about caucusing from the Iowa Democratic Party, click here. Should you need additional assistance, you can contact your county Republican or Democratic parties or call the Republican Party of Iowa at 515-282-8105 or the Iowa Democratic Party at 515-244-7292.
The Republican presidential preference poll is relatively straight forward. Once you are in your precinct and your precinct meeting has been called to order, usually the chair of your caucus will invite anyone to speak briefly in support of their favored candidate. Once all speeches have concluded, each eligible voter in the caucus will be given a piece of paper to either write or mark their choice. After everyone has filled out their secret ballot, the votes are counted in the precinct and announced to the room. All the precincts of a county are collected by party leadership and then reported to the Republican Party of Iowa to tabulate the state results. The Republican Party of Iowa has more detailed information about their process on their website. The Party will also be conducting regular business items at the meeting, slated to be held January 15, 2024.
The Democratic process is currently undergoing change and will look different this year as compared to years past, after the Democratic National Party voted to move the Iowa Democratic Caucus back in the caucusing calendar. The Iowa Democratic Party has voted to continue holding the in-person portion of its caucus on January 15, 2024, where most business items of the will take place, but will conduct the presidential preference poll portion of its caucus via mail. Iowa Democrats can now submit their presidential preference poll electronically, download a printable form to be returned by e-mail or mail, or request a Presidential Preference Card to be mailed to them on the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2024 Caucus page or by calling the Iowa Democratic Party helpline at (515) 216 - 3893. Preference cards requested to be mailed out will be sent starting January 12, 2024, and can continue to be requested at any point until February 19, 2024. The Iowa Democratic party is set to complete their caucus process and announce the results of their presidential preference poll on March 5, 2024.
What is a platform plank? How do I submit one? Why should I do so, and what happens with it after I submit it?Both major political parties, like the Iowa Farm Bureau, have a policy development process that requests input from grassroots members. Every two years, the parties - from the local to the national level - develop platforms which are essentially a statement of beliefs and policies that they support, or in some cases, oppose. The length and detail of these documents vary between states and counties. A platform plank is simply a policy statement or policy belief that you are in favor of your political party supporting and adopting. On caucus night, usually after the presidential preference poll is taken and other business is concluded, the chair of the caucus will ask anyone if they have any suggested platform planks to offer. At that time, platform planks can be submitted, and will be compiled for consideration at your county convention. At each step, from county, to district, to state, and all the way to the national convention, it is possible that your planks could be included. The Iowa Farm Bureau has a list of suggested planks that are good suggestions for Farm Bureau members to offer at their caucuses in order to ensure pro-agriculture policy is strongly considered in the platforms of both parties.
What is the “caucus to convention” process and timeline?
One should not confuse the caucuses with the three conventions that follow. You might hear the term “Caucus to Convention” and that is merely the period of activity between the caucus in January to the state and national conventions in July and August.
After the precinct caucuses, each county Republican and Democratic Party convenes their county convention. At the county convention, parties discuss the party platform, elect delegates to the district and state conventions, and hear speeches from candidates for office.
- Republican Party County Conventions = February 17, 2024
- Democratic Party County Conventions = March 23, 2024
A few weeks after the county conventions, both parties will hold four district conventions. These “districts” are the same as Iowa’s four Congressional districts. District convention delegates elect members to different state convention committees (rules, platform, credentials, etc.) and elect members to the State Central Committee (the governing board of the state parties). Finally, delegates debate the district party platform and hear from officeholders and candidates for office.
- Republican Party District Conventions = April 6, 2024
- Democratic Party District Conventions = May 4, 2024
At the state convention, delegates debate the state party platform, elect representatives to serve Iowa at the party’s national committee and hear from many candidates and current officeholders.
- Republican Party State Convention = May 4, 2024
- Democratic Party State Convention = June 15, 2024
The 2024 Democratic National Convention will be held in Chicago, IL, with the 2024 Republican National Convention slated to be held in Milwaukee, WI. Both parties will officially nominate their presidential and vice-presidential nominees, adopt a national platform, and hear speeches from many dignitaries. For more information on the Iowa Caucuses or the “Caucus to Convention” process, please contact the Republican Party of Iowa at 515-282-8105 or the Iowa Democratic Party at 515-244-7292.
- Republican Party National Convention = July 15 – 18, 2024
- Democratic Party National Convention = August 19 – 22, 2024
Disclaimer: This page is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to provide a comprehensive listing or overview of all caucus and political convention information. Please contact your local Republican or Democratic Party leadership or contact the Republican Party of Iowa at 515-282-8105 or the Iowa Democratic Party at 515-244-7292. This page was last updated November 30, 2023 and may not necessarily reflect the most recent information.