Fake News: Caucus Locations Are NOT Being Switched In Iowa, Particularly In Places Where Bernie Is Polling Well

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fake News: Caucus Locations Are NOT Being Switched In Iowa, Particularly In Places Where Bernie Is Polling Well

Were Iowa caucus locations switched in the days before the caucuses, particularly in places where Bernie Sanders was polling well? No, that's not true: Fewer than 10 of the 1,678 caucus precinct locations were changed in the last week before the February 3, 2020, caucuses and mostly because larger venues were needed due to anticipated high turnout, according to the Iowa Democratic Party. "It is something that happens every year," the IDP spokeswoman told Lead Stories. Iowa voters can find their caucus location at IWillVote.com.

The claim that Sanders was being slighted by the party originated from a post (archived here) published on Instagram on February 2, 2020. The post was a screenshot of a Twitter thread that opened:

IMPORTANT: I just got off the phone with a Bernie volunteer who said that caucus locations are being switched in Iowa, and particularly in places where Bernie is polling well. Make sure to communicate with other Bernie voters in your area about location updates. #Bernie2020 #Iowa

This is what social media users saw:

The Instagram post was a composite of a Twitter thread that implied the Democratic Party in Iowa was rigging the caucus system against Sanders, who is not a registered Democrat.

Aaron Stigile told Lead Stories that the only source of his claim was "one volunteer" who tweeted:

I made one call to one volunteer in Iowa on the ground who originally told me the context of the original tweet.

Earlier social media posts also raised concerns that Sanders supporters might be targeted by Democratic Party officials who changed caucus sites:

Notice for those caucusing for Bernie in Iowa:

Caucus locations for some precincts changed twice over the weekend, and the party can change them at any time, even on caucus night!

A Democratic Party official tweeted assurances that the location changes were not a big deal:

Iowa Democratic Party communications director Mandy McClure sent Lead Stories a separate statement denying the changes were related to Sanders' campaign.

It is not uncommon for precinct locations to change before caucus night. It is something that happens every year. Since Friday, there have been fewer than 10 changes out of 1,678 caucus locations, almost always for capacity reasons. The location changes are completely unrelated to any individual campaign. All campaigns are informed of caucus location changes and all caucus-goers can check their locations at: iwillvote.com

A spokesman from the Democratic party provided us following list of 14 changed IA Caucus locations as of 2/3/2020 3:08PM CST:

County Precinct Code SOS Precinct Name Location Name Address
Appanoose PS Pleasant/Franklin Cincinnati Community Center 101 Alpine St.
Appanoose UD Union / Udell Township Shoop Home
13792 286th Ave.
Montgomery 1 Montgomery Precinct 1 Red Oak High School, Commons 2011 N 8th St
Montgomery 2 Montgomery Precinct 2 Red Oak High School, Auditorium 2011 N 8th St
Montgomery 3 Montgomery Precinct 3 Red Oak High School, Gym 2011 N 8th St
Warren LB LIBERTY TWP Liberty Center United Methodist Church
16005 Church Dr
Wright EG4 Eagle Grove #4 Eagle Grove Middle School, Auditorium 1015 NW 2nd St
Warren LB
SE Warren High School
16221 Tyler St
Kossuth BT
400 1ST ST
Kossuth GW
400 1ST ST
Woodbury Sioux City 13
First Presbyterian Church
608 Nebraska St
Montgomery Precinct 1
Montgomery Precinct 2
Montgomery Precinct 3

Do let us know via [email protected] if your caucus location was changed but does not appear on this list.

Suspicions that the Democratic Party establishment was secretly rigging the caucus and primary system to deny Sen. Sanders a fair shot at the Democratic presidential nomination date back to the 2016 campaign and continue. We are not addressing the validity of those suspicions, but we are specifically debunking the idea that a handful of caucus site changes are part of the effort.

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  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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