2020 Iowa Caucuses: What You Need to Know

Iowa Caucuses
Photo credit Getty Images

The Iowa caucuses kick off on Monday, marking a major milestone in a highly competitive 2020 presidential election.

On Monday night, Democrats and Republicans will gather across the state to show support for their candidate of choice.

The caucuses begin at 8 p.m. EST and will take place at more than 1,600 sites in Iowa, reports New York Times.

This year, there are only 41 delegates up for grabs in the state. While this is inconsequential on a national scale — a candidate needs 1,991 delegates to win the party’s presidential nomination — the Iowa caucuses are a strong barometer of a candidate's momentum in the race.

Seven Democratic candidates have competitive campaigns all across the state. The candidates include Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer.

This year, Democrats will be holding satellite caucuses. Sixty will be in Iowa, 24 will be across the United States and three will be international. The events in the remote cities, which include Paris, France, Glasgow, Scotland and Tbilisi, Georgia, are being held for Iowa Democrats who cannot participate and vote in their state.

The process differs for the two major parties.

In a Democratic caucus, voters show up to a physical location (such as a school or church), where they deliver pitches about why their favored candidates should win. They then separate into groups based on who they support, literally walking to a specific part of the room that represents their preferred candidate. If any candidate doesn't have the support of at least 15% of the room, supporters of the individual have to throw their support behind another candidate.

The Republican caucuses are more straightforward. While they also allow time for voters to pitch their candidate of choice, the actual votes are conducted by writing candidates' names on pieces of paper, which are then tallied.

Both Democrats and Republicans report their caucus results to their parties, who then release totals.

While there will be Republican caucuses in Iowa — the incumbent Donald Trump will face Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh — the president is expected "to win handily," according to NYT.

Photo credit RADIO.COM

You can listen to CNN coverage on the RADIO.COM App as caucuses across Iowa will convene at 8:00 p.m. EST.

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