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What is the Iowa Caucus and Why is it Important?

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On Monday, Democrats in Iowa will gather at over 1,600 gyms, classrooms, and libraries across the state to choose their nominee for president of the United States in a unique process known as the Iowa caucuses.

Presidential candidates have historically dedicated substantial money and time in Iowa in order to win the votes of its residents. Though the state has just 41 delegates, Iowa is considered important because it’s the first time the country sees how candidates stack up in a real-world contest. Furthermore, the winner of the Iowa caucuses frequently becomes the Democratic nominee.

When is the Iowa caucus?

The Iowa caucus takes place across 1,678 Iowan precincts on Monday, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. Eastern time, with most results expected by 11 p.m Eastern.

The results will be available on, with market analysis to follow.

How does the Iowa caucus work?

Unlike in a primary, where votes are cast anonymously, in the Iowa caucus voters are required to show up in person and make a public declaration of their politics in front of friends, family, and neighbors.

Caucusgoers group up by candidate, physically positioning themselves in clusters with other like-minded voters. The supporters for each candidate are then tallied up.

If any group has less than 15% support, it is considered nonviable, and members of that group then have the chance to recruit undecided voters to surpass the 15% minimum or join other viable groups. Support for each candidate is then tallied again.

Read more about what a caucus is here.

The Warren campaign has offered free child-care in Iowa City during the caucuses in an effort to offset the burden on parents who otherwise may not be able to attend.

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