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How the Iowa caucuses work and what the results mean for the 2024 election

By 37ci3 Jan16,2024

On Monday evening, Iowa Republicans will head to schools and community centers to participate in the nation’s first caucuses — the first step in the months-long GOP presidential nomination process.

Events will take place in 1657 stations in 99 provinces of the state.

Follow live results of the 2024 Iowa elections

Here’s a quick look at how the caucuses work and how Iowans will vote for their GOP presidential nominee.

When are the commissions held?

Monday, January 15th starts at 8pm ET in Iowa.

Who can participate?

Eligible voters must be at least 18 years old by November 5, 2024, the day of the general election. Caucus participants must be registered with the Republican Party to participate in this GOP contest — but they must be a lifelong Republican. Independents or Democrats who want to run can re-register to do so, and polls show that some Iowans are taking advantage of that option in the absence of competing Democratic groups.

Same-day voter registration is available for people who have not previously registered as a Republican or who have never voted or voted before.

How does it actually work?

It’s important to remember that Democrats and Republicans conduct their caucuses in two different ways. Republicans select their nominees through a simple secret ballot — unlike Democrats shuffling from one corner of the caucus site to another.

Group members will arrive and check in before 7:00 PM CT. After that, they will take some procedural steps like electing precinct chairpersons and precinct secretaries. Later, the new chairmen will invite the supporters of the presidential candidates to speak in the hall.

A supporter listens as Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio addresses voters at a caucus on February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa.
A supporter listens as Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio addresses voters at a caucus on February 1, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa.Pete Marovich/Getty Images file

After those speeches, group members will receive their ballots and vote for their chosen candidates. Votes are collected, tabulated, and then usually announced to the room.

How are the results reported to the Iowa Republican Party?

The Iowa GOP has a process for precincts to upload their unofficial results to a web-based application. These results will then undergo a verification process and will be posted online through a link on the state party website, which will be posted on the day of the commissions.

How many delegates to the Republican National Convention are at stake?

There are 40 Republican delegates up for grabs (out of a total of 2,429 delegates to be awarded): 25 general delegates, 12 congressional district delegates and three RNC members.

Candidates receive a number of delegates equal to their share of the popular vote. For example, Ted Cruz’s 28% of the 2016 Iowa GOP caucus went to eight delegates, Donald Trump’s 24% and Marco Rubio’s 23% to seven, and the rest to other candidates.

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By 37ci3

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