Health Care

Iowa Democrats shelf plan for virtual caucus

Iowa Democrats shelf plan for virtual caucus”

It's a standard declaration of a problem followed by quashing of the solution.

What the Democratic National Committee's decision means, in the most basic of terms, is that Iowa's plan to hold "virtual" caucuses by phone - a move aimed at expanding the number of people who can participate - won't work. Why?

Iowa and Nevada planned to offer telephone-based caucuses when voting takes place in February for registered absentee voters.

Supporters have long argued that "virtual caucuses" would open up Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential contest, which requires caucusers to physically attend sometimes hours-long events to declare their choice for president.

Price wouldn't say yet what the party will do now to make the upcoming caucuses more accessible.

The decision leaves the Iowa and Nevada state parties in limbo, without clarity on how they'll meet the national party's requirements to expand access to the caucuses.

"We spent a lot of time talking about the virtual caucus. spent a lot of time over the last seven months talking about the virtual caucus but the central tenet of our caucuses is the precinct caucuses, it always has been. throughout this entire last seven months since we rolled this out, the central tenet has been our precinct caucuses, is going to remain our precinct caucuses", he added.

The DNC released a memo from their security team that said, "Based on our review process and the recommendation of security experts, we have concluded that now, there is no tele-caucus system available that is sufficiently secure and reliable, given the magnitude and timing of the Iowa and Nevada caucuses this cycle".

It's unclear how exactly the elimination of the tele-caucus option will affect candidate strategy. Conversations with campaign aides in Iowa and Nevada suggested most campaigns hadn't done much planning around the virtual caucus yet because the exact processes hadn't yet been approved by the DNC. She said she's hopeful that Democrats will work to create it by 2024. "The unfortunate thing is we're less than six months out", Blanco said. "Unfortunately, The DNC has advised we not go forward with this process due to threats against our Democratic infrastructure and Republican inaction to prevent future attacks in the upcoming election cycle". A high-profile party commission formed after the bitter primary fight in 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders recommended that the party find ways to increase voter participation in the nominating process.

The question, though, is whether the states could overhaul their proposals and have the DNC approve them in any kind of a reasonable time frame to explain the process to voters and allow the campaigns to prepare their turnout strategies. The technical details had not been made public yet, but an initial plan released earlier this year said the virtual caucuses "may include a teleconference, online virtual conference or another secure method". Those fears stem from the 2016 election when Russian operatives hacked into the national committee's emails, which were later published by Wikileaks.

The Democratic-controlled House has passed election security measures in Congress, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not taken them up in the Senate or advanced GOP alternatives.



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