Confused? 12 Iowa Caucuses Facts to Know Before Voting Begins

From how much money was dropped on TV ads, to how many delegates are up for grabs, here is TheWrap’s complete guide to the 2016 presidential race’s opening act

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Davenport
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With voting in the Iowa caucuses just hours away, here are a few things to keep in mind about tonight’s caucuses:

1. Democrats and Republicans hold their caucuses at the same time: 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.

2. Iowa has a total of 1,681 precincts in 99 counties.

3. Turnout for caucuses is not high. Only about 20 percent of registered voters in Iowa usually show up to vote, according to Drake University’s Iowa Caucus Project.

4. In 2012, there were 614,000 registered Republicans in Iowa but only 121,000 actually caucused, according to the project.

5. The exception to the rule was 2008, when 239,872 Democrats caucused — nearly 40% of the party’s registered voters — but that was due to the tight race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

6. Iowa has an important role in choosing the country’s presidents, even though its population is just a little over 3 million people, according to the U.S. Census.

7. The process is different for both parties.

For Republicans: Supporters of each candidate give a short speech, then voters mark ballots and place them in a box.

For Democrats: It’s more complicated. Voters divide into groups and declare their support for their preferred nominee. Candidates need at least 15 percent of the vote in order to qualify. If a candidate doesn’t meet the threshold, their supporters can either join another group or choose not to participate. That usually prompts a lively back and forth between voters trying to woo supporters from other candidates.

8. There are 30 delegates up for grabs for the Republican Iowa winner, awarded proportionally by statewide vote. For the Democratic nominee, 44 delegates.

9. Iowa voters have been subjected to a daunting 60,000 political TV ads, costing candidates more than $70 million, according to SMG Delta.

10. SMG calculates that the biggest spender in Iowa has been Jeb Bush’s Super PAC, which shelled out an eye-popping $15 million in ads in Iowa alone. Marco Rubio came in second with nearly $12 million, while Hillary Clinton came in third with more than $9 million.

11. Donald Trump, richer than all the other candidates combined, has only spent about $3.3 million on ads in Iowa, mostly in recent weeks.

12. While winning Iowa is important, not every candidate who wins the caucuses goes on to clinch the nomination. While the last three Democratic Iowa winners did eventually become their party’s nominee, the last non-incumbent Republican nominee to win the Iowa caucus was George W. Bush in 2000.