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The difference between a Republican and Democratic 2020 Caucus experience

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IOWA (KTIV) -- Precinct locations throughout Siouxland are geared up to open their doors for caucus-goers Monday night.

The process of caucusing can be confusing since it differs so much from a primary vote.

There are many Democratic candidates to choose from, 11 to be exact, and Democratic caucuses different from Republican.

Democrats have an open vote.

For comparison: during the primaries, you simply vote but in the caucus, you have a discussion and then vote.

You physically vote with your body, and you move to certain parts of the room to show which candidate you support.

So, after each campaign makes its pitch, Democrats split up into "preference groups", which support a specific candidate. But, unless a "preference group" is made up of at least 15% of the people at that caucus, the group isn't viable.

Those supporters can choose to re-align and support another candidate that's still "viable" and what some may not know is that undecided could be one of those viable groups

"If a group of undecided people align together and they are above 15%, then yeah, they have to stay with that group of undecided," said Theresa Weaber-Basye, Co-Chair for Precinct 10. "And they could make their decision further down the road as to where their vote will go."

While the Democrats have a large ballot of candidates to choose from, it's different for the Republicans.

While Democrats have an open vote, the Republican vote is a straw poll. This means, you go to your caucus location and vote anonymously similar to how you might vote in the general election.

Votes are then counted and winner takes all.

Just three candidates are on the ballot for the Republican party, and that includes President Trump who has a sizable lead in the polls.

Caucus officials say, although Trump leads the polls, that's not all caucus night is about.

"Well, Trump's definitely been driving a lot of traffic out. It's very important for people to come because it's not only just for the presidential race, it's also for us to establish our delegates, as well as to let the rest of the country know what our platforms are," said Shaun Broyhill, Woodbury County Republican Party Co-chair.

To learn more about how a caucus works, click here.

KTIV Staff

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