DES MOINES, Iowa — There's been a whirlwind of caucus news over the last few months, but on Wednesday, the Iowa Democrats released a plan they say would keep their caucuses first in the nation.
Under this new proposal, Democrats would still mail in their vote for president ahead of caucus night. However, the caucus itself would be held first-in-the-nation, on the same night Republicans host their own.
However, the evening would be reserved for Democratic party business like electing delegates and passing resolutions. It's yet to be determined if the mail-in results would be available that same evening.
"People who work third shift, who have small children, all the things that have kept people from engaging in the caucuses in previous years will now be able to have their voices heard," said Rita Hart, Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.
However, the plan has drawn sharp criticism.
New Hampshire GOP Chairman Chris Ager tweeted in April that a mail-in caucus would be too similar to a primary and that the state would respond by moving their own primary ahead of Iowa's nomination process.
Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a statement that:
"There is nothing stopping Iowa Democrats from simply holding their de facto primary after New Hampshire's First-in-the-Nation Primary. Instead, Iowa Democrats would rather carry water for Joe Biden and his vendetta against the Iowa Caucus, even running the risk of breaking Iowa law.”
Adding to concerns, on May 1, the Iowa House passed House File 716, which mandates in-person participation in the caucuses. Democrats told reporters that they are not making their plans around a bill that isn't currently law and believe their proposal keeps the caucuses as open to as many voters as possible.
"They're going to pass their legislation, they're going to do what they're going to do. We did not have input into that, and that's disappointing. But we're going to continue on this path to make sure that we have an accessible process," Hart said.
Get more Iowa politics news on Local 5's YouTube channel