The caucus begins
At 7 p.m. CT on February 3, all 1,678 precinct locations in Iowa will shut their doors to start voting. As they begin, neighbors will hear messages from the state party chair, local officials and possibly campaign representatives. They will then show their first preference for president.
This year, the state party has approved 87 "satellite caucuses” in locations around Iowa, the US and internationally that follow the same structure as a regular caucus.
The first count
As the caucus begins, voters move to different areas of the room based on their presidential candidate of choice.
The 15% vote threshold
Typically, a candidate needs 15% of the vote to remain viable, as determined by the amount of people participating in the precinct location. Smaller locations may have different viability thresholds.
The final count
If a candidate is not viable, their voters can realign to another viable candidate or join together to create a group in support of another candidate that meets the threshold. Voters who select a viable candidate for their initial preference will not be allowed to realign.
The final vote count is tallied and used to determine delegate allocation.