Iowa Caucus Resources from Irregular Times

The day of the Iowa caucuses is January 3, 2012. The results of the caucuses won't be available until late in the evening, however, because the caucuses can be highly irregular. Given the highly volatile nature of the Republican presidential race, it's hard to say exactly what's going to happen and how long it will take.

For People Living Outside Iowa

2012 iowa caucuses map Have fun with the suspense! Get your Iowa caucuses results party together, and then pull out your Iowa Caucuses Color In Results Map to track what's going on as the results start coming in. One good place to follow what's happening with the caucuses will be Des Moines Register.

Iowa Caucus Participation Instructions

If you live in Iowa and are looking for your caucus location, or if you're tracking the results and want more information about the site of some particular caucus action, you have to use the Iowa Republican Party caucus finder - it is an election within political parties, after all.

iowa republicanTo qualify to participate in the 2012 Iowa caucuses, you must be 18 years old (as of next year's Election Day (November 6, 2012). You must be registered with a political party to participate in that party's caucus. However, in Iowa, you are allowed to register with a political party for the first time, or to reregister with another political party than the one you've been a member of, on the evening of the caucuses themselves.

A caucus represents a small geographic area, so you'll probably meet some friends and neighbors there. It's a nice social occasion. Some caucuses may have as many as a thousand participants. Some may not reach a hundred.

The first thing that will happen is that the meeting will be called to order, and a person will be elected to preside over the caucus. Then, a secretary for the meeting will be elected.

There will be elections to the party's county committee - the local political organization for the party. Also, delegates to the County Convention, which will represent the caucus results at the county level and then send those results on to a statewide convention later in the year, will be chosen. Some committee positions at the County Convention will also be filled.

Do you understand yet that this isn't a short process, like going to a voting booth and pulling some levers or tapping a touch screen? There will be talk. There will be lots of talk. Don't fret. Talk is good for politics.

Voters will discuss the ideas and policy positions that should be on the political platform of the County party. Expect some flexibility on local issues. Voters who temporarily reregister as Republicans just for the sake of caucus night may experience some discomfort on national issues at this point.

Finally, at some point in the evening, there will be discussion of, and voting on, the presidential candidates seeking the nomination of the political party holding the caucus. This is what most caucus participants come to do.

Related activities to check out while you wait:

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