5 Ways Democrats May Boost Turnout at 2016 Iowa Caucuses

By Caleb Jackson

Aug 1, 2014 5:41pm

The Iowa caucuses can make or break presidential candidates just like they did for Barack Obama in 2008.

But caucuses, unlike a regular primary, take a lot more effort for the average voter. Like clockwork every four years, Hawkeye State voters gather in meetings to discuss — and ultimately decide which presidential candidate they want to see on the ballot in November — while also selecting convention delegates. These meetings can sometime take hours, and they may not be close to home.

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The head of the Iowa Democratic Party, hoping for a strong showing in the 2016, proposed some ideas on Friday to boost turnout. Here are five suggestions that Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Scott Brennan proposed at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee:

1. Introduce legislation at the state level that would require employers to grant non-essential workers time off to participate in the caucuses.

2. Through the party, hire a caucus accessibility director to facilitate any approved changes and to review ways to increase the accessibility of the caucuses for more registered voters.

3. Look into expanding supervised activities for children at caucus sites. This would allow parents with small children, who would otherwise be forced to stay at home, to participate.

4. Explore setting up satellite caucus sites in areas where it would otherwise be difficult for voters to travel long distances for the meetings. Brennan each of these sites would have to first be approved by the State Democratic Party.

5. Allow members of the military to participate through a statewide caucus over the phone. The format of this “telecaucus” would mirror that of the standard caucuses. One caveat, Brennan admitted, is that it would have to be approved by the Department of Defense in order to take place.

All of these suggestions are, at the moment, only proposals and none of them are guaranteed to be implemented in Iowa’s 2016 caucuses.

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