MASON CITY, Iowa - Imagine being able to vote over the phone. Soon, it's going to become a reality for both Democratic Parties in Iowa and Nevada for their upcoming caucuses in February.
The Iowa Democratic Party will be adding six phone caucus sessions in addition to traditional in-person caucuses on February 3rd. However, the virtual caucuses would be weighted differently compared to the traditional caucuses, for about 10% of the overall total. Delegates are awarded by the congressional district of the participant, and one cannot participate both virtually and in-person. In terms of security and verification, participants must pre-register and verify their eligibility with the Party, register as a Democrat by January 1st. The registration period for the tele-caucus is January 6th-17th, and the caucus sessions will be from January 29th-February 3rd. When participating in the virtual caucus, a PIN will be provided that they will then have to enter.
The hope is to boost voter participation, as well as make it more convenient who may not be able to attend due to work, disability, weather or other circumstances.
Linda Willeke has caucused before, and is considering doing it in February. She says the move would be smart to implement.
"Maybe we have a major snowstorm that night, or you can't find childcare at night. Any number of things, you don't like to drive at night, or you work the night shift. I think it's a great opportunity. In fact, I work evenings, so it might work for me this year."
In addition, she believe it's important to branch out and expand technology's usage in the voting process.
"People live with their phones, they carry with them all the time. It's very much a part of everyone's life it seems like, so I think it's natural to bring the caucus and voting process into it."
According to Cerro Gordo County GOP chair Barb Hovland, the Republican Party of Iowa has no plans to implement a tele-caucus.