Iowa Caucus 101

The Caucus Process

The Iowa Caucus is typically held in late January or early February; ninety-nine counties select delegates for the presidential nominating conventions. Each precinct in the state meets in a specific location, such as a school, library or church. Following the caucuses, chosen precinct delegates then go to the county convention where they vote for delegates to attend the district and state conventions.

Democrats divide into preference groups for each candidate and try to convince each other (especially those who are undecided) to switch support to their candidate. Any candidate must receive a certain percentage of the total votes in the room. If a candidate is determined to be not viable (by that percentage), their supporters must disband to support another candidate, remain undecided or abstain. This process continues until the remaining candidates are awarded delegates. Following the 2016 election, the Iowa Democratic Party has made updates to the process and added an opportunity for virtual caucusing. Click here for general information from the Iowa Democratic Party.

Republicans cast a vote by writing the candidate's name on a blank piece of paper. For more information on the caucus process for Iowa Republicans, click here.



To vote in Iowa, you must be registered to vote. To qualify to register to vote, you must be:
         •  A U.S. citizen,
         •  An Iowa resident, and
         •  At least 17 1/2 years old (must be 18 years old by election day to vote).

You cannot:
         •  Be a convicted felon (unless your voting rights have been restored),
         •  Be judged mentally incompetent to vote by a court, or
         •  Claim the right to vote in any other place.


**Information on specific Caucus polling places to come.