IOWA, USA — The Iowa Democratic Party has officially set a date for its in-person precinct caucuses — but the issue of mail-in ballots still remains unresolved.
The party voted Saturday to hold the in-person caucus on Jan. 15, 2024, when they will conduct party business like electing delegates and passing resolutions.
The precinct caucuses fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is a federal holiday.
“Iowa Democrats will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s by renewing our commitment to protecting our freedoms so that we may ensure future generations continue to have a voice,” said Rita Hart, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, in a statement.
The Republican Party of Iowa will hold its caucuses on the same day.
Despite setting the date for in-person precinct caucuses, it is unclear how Iowa Democrats plan to proceed with the proposed mail-in portion of the caucuses.
The Democratic National Committee voted in February to strip Iowa Democrats from their first-in-the-nation caucus status. Since then, Iowa Democrats have been working to find ways to go first without violating party rules.
The party's proposed solution came in the form of a mail-in caucus plan, which would allow would-be caucus goers to mail in their presidential preferences ahead of caucus night. The actual caucus itself would be kept to strictly party business.
However, the party has not specified when it will announce the results of the mail-in votes. Local 5 has reached out to the Iowa Democratic Party to see if it has any updates on the mail-in caucusing process.
The issue is further complicated by a new law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, requiring in-person participation at all caucuses.
Prior to the bill's passage, Iowa Republicans argued that providing alternatives to in-person caucusing creates a gray area. A vote-by-mail option could functionally turn the caucus into a primary – allowing New Hampshire to skip in front of Iowa.