For the first time, Democrats in Iowa and Nevada will be able to participate in their states' crucial early presidential caucuses next year without actually having to show up, NBC News reports.
It's a major change from election years past and one designed to make the Democratic caucuses more democratic and boost participation since not everyone has the time or ability to spend several hours of a specific evening attending an in-person caucus meeting.
Both Iowa and Nevada will now allow any Democrat who wants to use a telephone to dial into a "virtual caucus," where they'll rank a handful of their choices for the presidency. Iowa will offer Democrats six chances to "tele-caucus" in the days leading up to its Feb. 3 first-in-the-nation caucus. Nevada, which comes just after Iowa and New Hampshire's primary, will offer four days of in-person early caucusing during the run up to its Feb. 22 main event, in addition to options on two days to dial into the virtual caucus.
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The mandate from the Democratic National Committee to make caucusing easier comes as states are giving voters more options than ever to cast a ballot. Early voting in last year's midterms far surpassed that of prior midterms as 39 states now offer early voting and 28 offer absentee voting to anyone who wants it. In 2020, three states will mail a ballot to every single voter.