Iowa Democrats float out-of-state caucuses

Iowa's Democratic Party has conditionally approved a plan to allow Iowans living temporarily out of state to participate in satellite caucuses at locations approved by the party.

Politico reported Friday that the plan will allow interested caucus hosts to apply for approval to set up satellite caucus sites at factories, group homes and other locations in states around the U.S. in order to allow participation in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus on Feb. 3, 2020.

Applications for caucus sites are due by Nov. 18, according to Politico, and Iowa officials expect some applications from states where Iowans traditionally spend the cold winter months, including Florida and Arizona. Officials said Iowans attending college in other states could also benefit.

"We do know there are some parts of the country where there are high-density Democrats," Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price told Politico. "We expect we might get an application there."

"For the folks in other parts of the country, we will, as part of the review process, determine whether there are a sizable number of Democrats who are there," Price added. "From there, we will advertise them and work with folks to make sure they know this option exists."

The plan has been conditionally approved by a Democratic National Committee (DNC) board, and it comes after the DNC previously rejected a plan to allow out-of-state Iowans to vote by telephone.

Price previously criticized the DNC for that decision, arguing that it was a way to expand access to the caucuses.

"We're dedicated to expanding accessibility throughout the process so that no Iowan faces a barrier at their caucus. We are confident that this will be resolved in the coming weeks," Price said in August.

"As Chair of the Party is it my job to protect our voters, protect our party, and to protect the integrity of our first in the nation caucuses. We are obviously disappointed by this outcome, and we continue to have confidence in the abilities of our vendors, but if the DNC does not believe the virtual caucus can be secure, then we cannot go forward," he added at the time.