MEMO from the Iowa Democratic Party

To:       Interested Parties
From:   Iowa Democratic Party
Date:    December 31st, 2011
Re:       Iowa Democratic Caucus Procedures
On Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, the Iowa Democratic Party will hold its First in the Nation Precinct Caucuses across the state. In addition to conducting the standard caucus business of electing delegates and precinct committee persons, and discussion on platform resolutions, Democrats will use the 2012 Democratic Caucuses as a tool to organize towards Democratic victories at all levels in 2012.
On caucus night, Democrats will hear directly from their Democratic candidates, including a live address from President Obama. Additionally, they’ll learn how to get involved in their community and build support for our candidates as we approach the general election.
As a refresher to many members of the press who have covered the Democratic Caucuses in the past, the Iowa Democratic Party has prepared this memo to cover the logistics and structure of our party’s caucuses.
This year the IDP has 1774 precincts and 246 caucus locations.
If you would like to attend a Democratic caucus, please contact IDP Communications Director Sam Roecker at or (515) 782-1951.
Caucus Night Agenda
(Note: Many caucus locations will hold multiple precincts. As a result, precincts will meet in one large group at the beginning of the evening, before splitting into individual precincts to address official caucus business. Location managers are assigned to run the large group portion, before temporary caucus chairs take over in individual precincts.)
6:30 PM:          Registration Opens
7:00 PM:          Caucus Called to Order
                        Location manager reads agenda for the evening
                        2012 Campaign Presentation
-       Local surrogate discusses the importance of getting involved and electing Democrats
-       President Obama will be calling and live streaming via webcast into sites across the state
7:30 PM*:         Presentation by the Iowa Democratic Party
Letters from elected officials may be read aloud, any officials present may address the caucus
7:45 PM*:         Group splits into individual precincts
                        Election of Permanent Precinct Chair and Precinct Secretary
                        Election of Delegates and Alternates
                        Election of Platform & Committee on Committees Members
                        Election of Precinct Committee Persons
                        Resolution Discussion and Adoption
8:30 PM*:         Caucus Adjourns
*Times may vary depending upon caucus location
Delegate Selection Process

Iowa Democrats who wish to become a delegate to the county, district, state, or national convention must begin that process on caucus night by running in their precinct. Each precinct is apportioned delegates based on the size of their county’s convention and past Democratic performance.
Once elected on caucus night, a delegate must attend their county convention and run as a delegate to the district and state convention. From there, they would be elected as a delegate to the national convention in Charlotte, NC.
There will be a total of 1200 delegates elected to the state convention, which will take place on June 16th, 2012 in Des Moines.
Resolution Process
Caucus goers may submit a resolution in their precinct on caucus night. Adopted resolutions will be given to the county platform committee who will determine which resolutions are presented at the county convention.
Preference Groups
Democrats will only form preference groups if at least 15 percent of the attendees wish to do so. If the caucus agrees to form preference groups, delegates are proportionally awarded to any group that meets the viability threshold (15 percent in most precincts).
If a group is not viable when preference groups are initially formed, those individuals may realign and support a viable candidate. Delegates are then assigned.
Results Reporting
The Iowa Democratic Party will collect data from caucus locations and make it available to reporters throughout the night. Members of the Iowa Democratic Party media list will receive a link to results once most precincts have reported their data. To be added to this list contact Sam Roecker, or (515) 782-1951