Preparations for the 2016 presidential elections are underway as the Democratic National Committee announced the dates for the first caucus of the campaign.

The Iowa caucus has been set for Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. That puts it nearly a month later in the year than 2012's Jan. 3 date.

Iowa Democrats have proposed changes to the state's caucus following experiences during the 2008 election. Proposals of allowing registered voters to participate by allowing absentee ballots, proxies or even Skype video conferencing were ruled out. The suggested changes come after then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said there would have been more people at the caucus, but many were busy working, like as law enforcement on duty, hospital workers, waitresses and troops overseas.

According to Iowa Democratic Party Chair Scott Brennan, the Iowa caucus is the "purest form" of democracy. He explained new recommendations for the state's caucus for 2016.

"Iowans did not want us to take any steps that would change what our caucuses are at their core -- neighborhood gatherings of concerned and interested Iowans who want a say in the future of our country," Brennan said, and as a result, five recommendations were pitched.

The first recommendation is to work with the Iowa legislature and governor to pass measures to allow non-essential employees to take time off for a caucus. For the second recommendation, a Caucus Accessibility Director would be hired to ensure counties' caucus sites are accessible as possible and further implement the recommendations.

The Iowa Democratic Party also recommended supervision of children so more parents can participate. The fourth recommendation is "Satellite Caucuses," an option for an additional caucus site, but its criteria are yet to be determined.

"To give you an example, if a large number of Democrats at a factory in Waterloo would be interested in having a caucus at their facility, they would petition the Iowa Democratic Party, and if they meet some yet to be determined criteria, the party could then approve a site at that location," Brennan said.

The final recommendation is a precinct for Iowans serving in the military. The "Military Tele-Caucus" allows Iowans in the military to participate and follow the same rules, such as dissolving into preference groups and realignments.

"This telecaucus would be open only to those who are in the military," Brennan said. "Our current thoughts are that this would be one statewide precinct for military personnel. This tele-caucus would be no different than a normal caucus. We would have speeches from representatives of different campaigns, people would be able to form preference groups, and if a group is unviable, would be able to realign."

Closely following  the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary will take place Feb. 9, according to the DNC.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan commended the DNC's decision to keep the state's primary earlier than any other, stating, "As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire presidential primary, I applaud the Democratic National Committee for protecting our 'First in the Nation Primary' status in 2016, with ample time separating it from the Iowa caucus and Nevada primary."

Hassan said New Hampshire has been the "initial proving ground" for presidential candidates because of her residents' "direct citizen involvement" during the presidential nomination process.


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