Organizers prepare for Iowa satellite caucus in Port Charlotte

We are 72 hours away from the start of the Iowa Caucus. The Democratic candidates are making their last-minute pushes ahead of the primaries. They are sending everything from text messages, to having people wear their gear and holding rallies.

Those who live in Iowa and are currently here in Southwest Florida will take part Monday at the satellite caucus office in Port Charlotte.

We looked at how the surrogate site works for Iowa voters in Southwest Florida.

Temporary Iowa Caucus chair Tome Andre and temporary secretary Susan Hegland have been hard at work preparing for the first Democratic Iowa satellite caucus in Charlotte County.

“Last week, I participated in an online training for the satellite caucus,” Andre said.

Andre and Hegland have participated in caucuses since they first started in the 1970 and never left Iowa to go on vacation around caucus time.

“It does get cold in Iowa in the winter, and there are snowbirds that come to Florida or other southern places,” Andre said. “And why shouldn’t they have the opportunity to participate?”

The caucus veterans tell us the satellite caucus, for the most part, will be the same as the ones held in Iowa, with a couple of exceptions.

“You had to pre-register for the satellite caucuses, and you can’t just show up at the door and be a participant,” Andre said.

How the satellite caucus works: Instead of casting votes, Iowans will debate the merits of candidates and go stand in a section of the room that is assigned to the candidate they want to win.

“Absentee balloting is available for every other election but not this,” Hegladn said. “And so this takes the place of absentee ballots.”

The caucus officials will count the number of people in each group and double check

Candidates with the least amount of support are eliminated until there’s enough to declare a winner.

At last check, 146 Iowans registered for the satellite caucus in Port Charlotte. The caucus starts at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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