The NCSL Blog


By Wendy Underhill

Today is Iowa’s quadrennial day in the sun thanks to its presidential caucuses. Granted, it’s a big deal. But it’s not the only deal.

Here are three more things to know today. 

  • Iowa isn’t the only state to rely on caucusing—although the ranks are thinning. Nevada Dems will caucus on Feb. 22 and Wyoming Dems will caucus on April 4. Other than that, legislators continue the trend toward primaries. Since 2016, Dems in 11 states moved from caucuses to primaries run either by the state or by the party. See Table 1 in December’s election newsletter, The Canvass, for details.
  • It’s possible that some voters in states other than the traditional “first” states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina will be the first to vote in this year’s presidential primaries. Fourteen states hold their presidential primaries on “Super Tuesday,” March 3, and of those, eight begin sending absentee ballots out 45 or 46 days in advance. That means it’s possible that some voters in Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont may have received, voted and returned their ballots already. The results for those pre-Election Day votes won’t be known until polls close on Super Tuesday, of course.
  • This cycle, Super Tuesday is bigger than ever. Since 2016, legislators in California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Utah and Vermont, have joined Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia to make this day something like a national primary.

Wendy Underhill is NCSL’s director of Elections and Redistricting.

Email Wendy

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.