The Iowa Caucus Review Committee is proposing a new five-part section of the Republican Party of Iowa Bylaws that would outline certain procedures and responsibilities for conducting Iowa’s first-in-the- nation presidential caucuses. The committee also asks that an additional five recommendations be adopted by the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee, used for planning and included in training material.
The 17-member committee has conducted three public meetings across the state, established working sub-committees on public information, operations and training, surveyed more than 600 Iowa Republicans and consulted with numerous experts.
The Iowa Caucus Review Committee recommends that a new ARTICLE VII of the By-laws of the Republican Party of Iowa be enacted with subsequent articles to be re-numbered:
ARTICLE VII — IOWA CAUCUSES PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE POLL
1. The Republican Party of Iowa’s announcement of statewide results of the Iowa Caucuses Republican Presidential Preference Poll shall be made available to all media and interested parties at one time by the chair of the Republican Party of Iowa or his or her designee.
2. If the margin between the top two presidential candidates is less than 1% of the total votes counted, the results will be reported as uncertified and no winner will be officially declared until the results are certified.
3. Final certification of vote results shall be completed within 72 hours, so that results are announced prior to the New Hampshire primary. Regardless of the margin, the candidate with the most certified votes will be declared the winner of the Iowa Caucuses Republican Presidential Preference Poll.
4. Training material, including the official First-in-the-Nation Precinct Chair’s Guide to Organizing Your Precinct Caucuses and the official County Chair’s Guide to Organizing the Iowa Caucuses will be distributed to county chairs and made available on-line 365 days prior to the date of the Iowa caucuses. Final training materials will be distributed and made available online at least 60 days prior to the date of the caucuses. Paper reporting forms will be in triplicate and electronic reporting systems will have redundancy. Registered voter lists will be made available 30 days prior to the date of the caucuses.
5. In non-presidential election year caucuses, a training test run of the Presidential Preference Poll will be conducted by the Republican Party of Iowa.
The Iowa Caucus Review Committee also asks that the following additional recommendations be adopted by the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee. Where appropriate, the recommendations should be included in the official County Chair’s Guide to Organizing the Iowa Caucuses and the official Precinct Chair’s Guide to Organizing Your Precinct Caucuses and other training material.
1. It is recommended that the use of mobile technology for instantaneous same day certification be investigated. Considering the rate of innovation in mobile technology, the committee believes that in 2016 it will be possible for results to be reported electronically from all caucus sites making same day certification possible. Results could be reported electronically from the caucus site to the tabulation center and from the tabulation center back to the caucus site so that caucus participants can instantaneously confirm the results.
2. Regarding ballot integrity, it is recommended that: a) Standardized paper ballots should be distributed to caucus-goers at registration with no replacing of lost ballots. b) Completed ballots should be placed by individual caucus-goers in a ballot box. c) Ballots should be counted in the main caucus room. d) A representative from each of the participating presidential campaigns should be invited to observe at the Republican Party of Iowa vote tabulation center.
3. The prepared caucus agenda should contain specific items for counting, reporting and confirming the vote.
4. It is recommended that technology be utilized to ensure consistent caucus training. In addition to the written manual, it is suggested that training materials be available on-line and in electronic format available to download. Training materials available via video, DVD or YouTube would ensure consistent caucus training sessions to individuals who attend or are unable to attend a training session.
5. It is recommended that RPI hold more training sessions at more locations across the state and via a webinar or teleconference.
The committee would like to thank Chairman A. J. Spiker and the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee for their confidence and support. The committee would also like to thank the members of the Republican National Committee for their ideas and advice. The committee is most grateful to the many Republicans across Iowa, experts and others who offered valuable advice, criticisms and assistance. The members of the committee stand ready to assist in every way possible with the implementation of these recommendations.
The Iowa caucus review committee was appointed by Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A. J. Spiker and confirmed by the State Central Committee in March. The committee met for the first time April 26th in Ankeny. Members surveyed more than 600 Iowa Republicans seeking ideas for improving the caucuses. Sub-committees on public information, operations and training met and developed their preliminary recommendations. A public hearing was held on the preliminary recommendations at the second meeting, May 30th in Cedar Rapids. Committee members also sought comment on the preliminary recommendations June 15 from delegates at the Republican State Convention. The final meeting was in Sioux City on June 25th.
The committee was appointed to review the process after
The early Romney margin was the third-closest vote in U. S. history. The final Santorum win was the fourth-closest ever. The 2012 Iowa Caucuses saw a record turnout of 122,000 Republicans.
The caucus process has been used since Iowa became a state in the 1840’s. It came into prominence in 1976 when little-known Gov. Jimmy Carter beat expectations, and captured the White House. Shortly thereafter Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status was written into Iowa law.
Committee members and the sub-committees they serve on are:
- Chair Bill Schickel, Co-chair Mary Mosiman
- Public Information: Chair, David Oman, Rev. Jamie Johnson, Wes Enos, Gwen Ecklund
- Operations & Tabulation: Chair David Chung, Co-chair Chad Olsen, David Fischer, Richard Schwarm, Steve Grubbs and State Sen. Nancy Boettger
- Training: Chair Kathy Pearson, Randy Erickson, Judy Davidson, Steve Scheffler, Kim Lehman