Time to seriously look at reforming the Iowa Democratic Caucuses

With the fiasco that was the Iowa Democratic Caucuses behind us, it’s now time to take a serious look at ideas to reform the caucus process in Iowa. Here’s some of my own ideas:

  • Require the state party to report county delegates, state delegate equivalents, and popular vote on election night.
  • Require the state party to apportion county delegates to precincts based on a “30-30-20-20” formula, in which there are a set number of county delegates apportioned to each county based on a county’s Democratic ticket vote total in the previous presidential election (30%), a county’s Democratic ticket vote total in the previous gubernatorial election (30%), the number of registered Democrats in the county at the time that candidate filing for the caucuses closed (20%), and the population of the county at the time of the Census in which Iowa’s state legislative districts in use at the time of the caucuses were drawn in accordance to (20%). The figure calculated by using the “30-30-20-20” method is called the “population equivalent”.
  • Require that state delegates be apportioned to counties based on the “30-30-20-20” method.
  • Require that there be one county delegate per 40 population equivalents, and that there be one state delegate per 500 population equivalents.
  • Require votes to be reported as soon as possible after caucusing is finished in the precinct in question, preferably by an internet-connected electronic device, although, if that is not possible, reporting can be done via phone or, as a last resort, delivering a tally sheet to the state party headquarters as soon as possible. In all cases, paper documentation of the vote count should be conducted and delivered to the state party headquarters as soon as possible.
  • Require that a presidential candidate automatically be declared non-viable in a particular precinct if said presidential candidate lacks a precinct captain, and require that the precinct chair request that a caucusgoer step forward and become a precinct captain for said presidential candidate if said presidential candidate does not have a precinct captain in a particular precinct after the start of the caucus, but before voting begins.
  • Require that public ballots be used for each round of voting in the caucuses, unless DNC rules are amended to allow for secret ballots in the caucuses.
  • In the event that there are fewer caucusgoers than the number of county delegates apportioned to a precinct, require that all caucusgoers be sent to the county convention as uncommitted county delegates.
  • In the event that a significant tie for a delegate occurs in a precinct, require that one final round of voting be conducted, and, if there is still a tie, require that two county delegates with half-votes are elected (or three county delegates with one-third votes for a three-way significant tie, and so on).
  • In the event that, counting “uncommitted” as a candidate, there are more presidential candidates than either seven or the number of county delegates apportioned to the precinct in question (whichever is fewer), require that, if necessary, multiple rounds of voting, with only the last place candidate being declared non-viable after each ballot, be held until there are either seven or a number of candidates equal to the number of county delegates apportioned to the precinct remaining, and/or the top seven candidates or a number of candidates equal to the number of county delegates apportioned to the precinct have either 85% (for precincts with seven or more county delegates) or [[(n-1)/n]+1]% (n is the number of presidential candidates) of the precinct vote combined. At that point, all candidates below the viability threshold shall be declared non-viable, and, barring a significant tie, one additional round of voting shall take place.
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