Virtual Iowa caucus may not happen

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DES MOINES, Iowa (Gray DC/AP) -- At this month’s Iowa State Fair, volunteers and staffers from the Iowa Democratic Party were spreading the word about the proposed virtual caucus.

The Iowa Democratic Party set up a booth at the Iowa State Fair from August 8-18, 2019. (Source: Gray DC)

“These changes, we think, are going to help make the process more accessible, more transparent, and really more successful than at any point in our caucus' history," said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price at the time.

The IDP said the virtual caucus would have allowed Iowa Democrats to participate in one of six virtual caucus sessions from anywhere in the world by phone or virtual conference. They would be able to rank up to five choices for president.

But according to the Associated Press, the Democratic National Committee will recommend scrapping the virtual caucus in Iowa and Nevada because of hacking concerns.

In a statement Friday, Price responded, “We are obviously disappointed by this outcome, and we continue to have confidence in the abilities of our vendors, but if the DNC does not believe the virtual caucus can be secure, then we cannot go forward.”

Earlier this month, we spoke with Drake University Professor Dennis Goldford, author of The Iowa Precinct Caucuses. Golford was skeptical the virtual caucuses would get more people to participate.

“My sense, at this point, is the Democrats are taking a process that's complex and confusing, and they're really running the risk of making it even more complex and confusing," said Golford.

Carol Tyler, a Democratic caucusgoer from Des Moines, didn’t think she would participate in a virtual caucus.

“I rather be there [in person], with the people that are really adamant," said Tyler.

A spokesman from the Republican Party of Iowa tells us they have no plans to make any changes to their caucus system.

The caucuses are still scheduled for February.

Copyright 2019 Gray DC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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