Iowa House Bill Would Derail Democrats’ Plans for Mail-In Voting in 2024 Caucuses

(Radio Iowa) A hearing will be held today (Wednesday) at the Iowa Capitol on a bill that would prohibit mail-in voting in next year’s Iowa Caucuses. The move would scuttle the Iowa Democratic Party’s plan to offer an early voting alternative for those who will not be attending a precinct-level meeting on Caucus night. Representative Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton, says requiring in-person participation on Caucus night ensures New Hampshire doesn’t move its presidential primary ahead of the Iowa Caucuses.

“When you have a system that strongly resembles a primary and the new New Hampshire secretary state of says: ‘We’re the first primary state, that’s long-held tradition, and we’re going to jump over you if you do that,’ I’m going to take that seriously,” Kaufmann says, “so that’s why I’m doing it.” Kaufmann, who is the son of Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann, says this is a must-do bill for the 2023 legislature.

“The protection of the Caucuses’ first-in-the-nation status is critical,” Kaufmann says. “If we do mail in, it will not happen anymore.” Kaufmann’s bill has another feature to prevent people from trying to vote in both the Democratic AND the Republican Party Caucuses. It would require Caucus participants to have registered to vote as a Republican or a Democrat at least 70 days before Caucus Night.

“If you want to Caucus with a particular party, make a plan and register accordingly,” Kaufmann says. Iowa Democratic Party chair Rita Hart says these proposals from Republicans are a surprise, made without any input from Democrats. Hart says Democrats will do what’s best for Iowa and that means moving forward with what she describes as an inclusive Caucus process. The Republican National Committee has voted to keep the Iowa GOP’s Caucuses first in the nation. However, national Democratic Party leaders have selected five other states to go first as their party selects a 2024 presidential nominee.