For the first time ever in 2020, Iowans around the globe will be able to participate in the Iowa Democratic caucuses on Feb. 3.
The Iowa Democratic Party released a list of 99 approved satellite locations, including in 13 other states, Washington, D.C., and three foreign countries — France, Scotland and the Republic of Georgia.
The party received 192 applications to hold satellite caucuses, which it tested in 2016 with four pilot locations.
Of the 99 satellite caucuses, 71 are in Iowa, primarily at locations where people cannot leave to attend a regular caucus. They include hospitals, fire stations and assisted living facilities.
“Notably, there are 19 working-related sites, 21 student sites on college campuses, 38 sites that accommodate accessibility needs, including aging service centers, 12 sites that are accommodating language and culture needs, and nine sites for those Iowans who spend their winters in other parts of the country,” the party said in a news release.
Many of the satellite caucuses are considered “closed,” meaning only the people at the site can attend, such as a work location or care facility. More than 1,600 caucuses are “open,” meaning any registered Iowa Democrat can attend.
The Iowa caucuses date back to the 1800s and differ greatly from the primary system of voting that most states use. In a primary, voters go to the poll to cast their ballot, while caucuses are often called a “gathering of neighbors" and are held in libraries, schools, churches and even private residences.
Aside from the presidential preference part of the caucuses, attendees also help craft their party’s platform by introducing resolutions.
Republicans and Democrats alike hold caucuses every two years and also use the process to elect delegates to county conventions and nominate candidates for local offices.
The Iowa caucuses have been the first nominating vote in the country for Democrats since 1972 and for Republicans since 1976. They are followed the next week by the first primaries in the county in New Hampshire. This year that is Feb. 11.
The lack of diversity in the two states, however, has led some Democratic candidates to call on the Democratic National Committee to change the process, saying it harms candidates of color.
The Iowa Democratic caucuses have had a 43 percent success rate at predicting which candidate would receive the presidential nomination since 1972. For Republicans, it is 50 percent.