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What the Iowa caucus means for Kentucky

Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 18:43:23-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Every four years, the Iowa caucus dominates news coverage across the country and there's a reason for it.

"Most people see the Iowa caucus as the official kickoff of the nomination season," said Joshua Douglas, a professor who teaches election law at the University of Kentucky.

"Especially because tonight will be the first time we have results from actual votes, and not just polls."

In Kentucky, voters won't cast their ballots until May 19th. So the question is: do the results from Iowa impact Kentucky?

"I think it has an impact on the overall national story line because people like to go with a winner," said Douglas. "And you'll have a sense tonight of who the top candidates are - who the top winners are."

The way Iowa gets to those top winners is different than the way things are done in Kentucky. While Kentuckians fill out a ballot in privacy, democrats in Iowa do everything out in the open.

Supporters of different candidates gather in different corners of a caucus site. After the supporters are counted, a candidate is considered viable if they get support from at least 15 percent of the people in the room. If that does not happen, that candidate's supporters need to move and realign with a different viable candidate. Then, a mathematical formula is used to figure out how many delegates are awarded.