How a Caucus Works

Iowa Republicans hold their statewide Caucuses Tuesday night. The first-in-the nation political event is unique and, for many, confusing. Here is how it works.

While most of us are used to voting in private, this is very public affair. Democrats won't be doing much Tuesday since there's an incumbent candidate in President Obama.

However, four years ago we were there as voters stood by a particular candidate actually gathering in a spot. They try to convince others to join their candidate. That alone can take more than an hour.

Republicans caucus in a different manner. Representatives for the candidate will speak to everyone and give reasons why you should support that individual.

Then depending on the numbers of people at the caucus, there will be a show of hands for the candidates or a straw poll.

Four years ago we watched from the rural home of Jack Drake, which was designated as one of the precincts in Lewis, Iowa. Everyone wrote down who they supported and then the precinct captain helped count the ballots and report the numbers to the county.

The Iowa poll estimates that even with all the attention, 41% of caucus-goers haven't yet made up their mind which makes Tuesday's caucuses even more unpredictable.

The caucuses for Democrats begin at 6:30pm Tuesday. They will talk mostly about the issues. The caucuses for Republicans begin at 7:00pm.

To find the sites of the Iowa caucuses, click here.

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