Iowa Republicans propose bill to make major changes to caucuses
DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - A bill which would make major changes to the Iowa caucuses is advancing in the state legislature.
It comes after Democrats lost their first-in-the-nation status in the presidential nominating process in February.
The bill requires people to be physically present to participate in a caucus. They would also have to register with their party 70 days before a caucus.
Meanwhile, Democrats have proposed a vote-by-mail process instead of doing it in person.
However, Republicans say a mail-in caucus process is too similar to a primary. New Hampshire is required by law to hold the first in the nation primary.
Iowa has to hold a caucus in order to stay first.
“When you do mail in, it’s a primary. New Hampshire is obligated by law to jump us,” Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann said. “We do nothing, and the current DNC proposal before them by the state of Iowa is adopted, we lose first-in-the-nation status period.”
The DNC has already voted to make South Carolina the first state in the presidential nominating process, but this calendar is not set in stone yet.
Iowa Democrats say the mail-in change is aimed at making the caucuses more inclusive and doesn’t pose a threat.
“Nobody has said that the Democratic Party is going to send out ballots for caucuses,” Democratic Party Rep. Nielsen said. “We’re working on options to make it more accessible and inclusive. I don’t think that’s going to take away our first-in-the-nation status.”
The House Republicans bill passed out of subcommittee on Wednesday. It still needs full House and Senate approval before signing it into law.
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