# Caucus Math in 3 minutes

Caucusing is fun, easy and important — and yes, there is math involved! That’s why we’re here — to help you get to the bottom of the math behind the Iowa Democratic Caucuses.

First things first — on Monday, February 1st, Iowa Democrats across the state will gather at nearly 1,700 precincts to make their preferences for the Democratic nomination for President. It’s a *pretty* big deal.

Presidential candidates are then awarded delegates based on the preference group’s size at each of the precinct locations.

**That’s the easy explanation. Let’s dive in a little deeper to understand just exactly how delegates are awarded on caucus night:**

**Step 1: **Precinct chairs count the number of eligible caucus goers.

**Step 2: **To be awarded delegates, candidates must have a minimum number of caucus attendees in his or her group. This is called viability. Precinct chairs will determine the viability threshold using these formulas:

- If the caucus elects
**one**delegate: The delegate is elected by a simple majority. - If the caucus elects
**two**delegates: Viability is 25% - If the caucus elects
**three**delegates: Viability is 16.66% - if the caucus elects
**four or more**delegates: Viability is 15% →this is the viability at most of our caucus locations!

**Step 3: **Caucus goers will then get into preference groups and precinct chairs will ensure all of the groups are viable.

**Step 4: **If preference groups are not viable, caucus goers in those groups can realign and join a viable group, or pull people from other groups to become viable themselves.

**Step 5: **Once you are only left with viable groups, now it’s time to award delegates.

Here’s the formula:

(Number of people supporting your candidate) x (Number of total delegates the caucus is electing)

DIVIDED BY

(Total number of people at the caucus)

Quick example: Your precinct elects 5 delegates. 100 people show up to caucus. Here is how people align:

**Candidate A —** 40 people (40x5/100=2 Delegates)

**Candidate B —** 35 people (35x5/100=1.75 delegates, round up to 2 Delegates)

**Candidate C — **25 people (25x5/100=1.25 delegates, round down to 1 Delegate)

**Step 6: **Finally, sometimes the math can award too few or too many delegates. Then, here’s what happens:

- If the total number of delegates is
**fewer**than the number to be elected, an additional delegate is awarded to the group(s) with the highest decimal below 0.5. - If the total number of delegates is
**greater**than the number to be elected, a delegate is subtracted from the preference group(s) with the lowest decimal above 0.5 — but a group can’t lose it’s only delegate.

There you have it. You have now learned about Caucus Math!