Report: DNC to Reject Proposal for ‘Virtual Caucuses’ in Iowa, Nevada

Caucus attendees are greeted prior to a Democratic Party Caucus at Jackson Township Fire Station on February 1, 2016 in Keokuk, Iowa.
MICHAEL B. THOMAS/AFP/Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is expected to reject a proposal to implement and embrace “virtual caucuses” in Iowa and Nevada, according to recent reports.

The DNC will reportedly reject plans for a series of “virtual caucuses” in the states due to ongoing security concerns:

As the Des Moines Register reported:

The decision was confirmed to the Des Moines Register late Thursday by two sources close to the conversations. It follows a meeting of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee last week in San Francisco, where members voiced concerns about the security of the Iowa plan and the potential for hacking.

The recommendation, which is expected to be formally announced Friday, must be approved by the Rules and Bylaws Committee.

The move would have allowed registered Democrat voters to participate in the Iowa caucuses without being physically present, using a phone instead. The caucuses have long been the target of critics, who say that it is unfair to people who cannot get off work or do not have time to participate in what can be an hours-long process.

“These changes will make the 2020 caucuses the most accessible, the most transparent, the most secure and the most successful caucuses ever,” Iowa Democrat Party Chairman Troy Price told reporters in February.

The process would have required registered voters to apply online prior to the virtual caucus and confirm their identity via “multi-factor authentication,” according to Fox News.

Additionally, per a National Public Radio (NPR) report:

The plan proposed by the state party would have allowed people to participate in one of six virtual caucuses in late January or early February. The technical details had not been made public yet, but an initial plan released earlier this year said the virtual caucuses “may include a teleconference, online virtual conference or another secure method.”

The proposal was part of an effort to abide by the DNC’s request “requiring caucus states to allow some form of absentee voting.” Given the DNC’s decision to nix the move, the state party officials will have to go back to the drawing board.

“If Iowa can’t come up with a plan for people to participate without being physically present that differs substantially from a primary, the future of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status could be thrown into question,” the Des Moines Register reported:

Presidential candidate Julián Castro (D) slammed the decision, claiming that it will “disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters, and decrease turnout by up to a third” and calling it “an affront to the principles of our democracy”:

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