DES MOINES — National Democratic Party leader have given conditional approval to a new plan by Iowa Democrats to hold satellite caucuses in addition to traditional precinct caucuses on February 3, 2020.

“Satellite caucuses allow us to bring democracy closer to those who cannot attend our precinct caucuses. They will expand participation in our process,” Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price says.

Two weeks ago, the Democratic National Committee cited security concerns and rejected the state party’s plan to let people to use their smart phones to participate in a series of “virtual” caucuses before February 3. New national party rules require caucus states to allow absentee participation in 2020. Price says Iowans can submit applications for satellite locations by November 18.

“Satellite caucuses can help shift workers, people in nursing homes or retirement communities, people in group homes, students and those who live outside of Iowa, including military personnel,” Price says.

Party leaders do not want satellite caucuses to “cannibalize” traditional caucuses, according to Price, but a series of “mini-caucuses” in addition to the traditional precinct meetings might help with overcrowding at some caucus locations. The “satellite” caucuses will be held at the same time, with the same rules and the same reporting system as traditional caucuses.