DNC expected to nix Iowa's 'virtual caucus' plan

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By Adam Edelman  with NBC News Politics
Image: Iowa City
An audience member arrives at a rally for 2020 Democratic presidential candidates at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa on March 8, 2019.   -   Copyright  Charlie Neibergall AP file

The Democratic National Committee will recommend nixing the Iowa Democratic Party's so-called "virtual caucusing" plan in the state, two sources familiar with the conversations told NBC News late Thursday.

The DNC leadership decided to recommended rejecting the plan because the technology is not sufficiently secure, the sources told NBC News.

Security surrounding the virtual caucusing had been a major concern, with many inside the party fearing a potential threat of the operation being hacked.

News of the recommended rejection was first reported by the Des Moines Register, which reported that the decision followed a meeting of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee last week in San Francisco.

A spokesperson for the DNC did not immediately respond to questions about the matter.

NBC News reported last month that Democratic voters in Iowa and Nevada would be able to participate in their states' crucial early presidential caucuses next year without actually having to show up.

The system would have worked by allowing Democrats to use a telephone to dial into a "virtual caucus," where they would have ranked a handful of their choices for the presidency. Under Iowa's plan, Democrats in the state would have been offered six chances to "tele-caucus" in the days leading up to its first-in-the-nation caucus on February 3.

The plan came in response to a mandate from the DNC, which wanted to make caucusing easier following the 2016 Democratic primary process.

The system would have marked a major change from election years past but had been 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.

Security, however, had been a major concern, although the Iowa Democratic Party's plan would have taken the precaution of requiring those who wanted to take part in the virtual caucus to pre-register months in advance, despite the state's same-day voter registration.