Democrats in the early presidential contest states of Nevada and Iowa will be able to cast their votes over the telephone instead of showing up at their states' traditional neighborhood caucus meetings next February.

The tele-caucus plans unveiled by the state parties are aimed at opening the local-level political meetings to more people, especially evening shift-workers and people with disabilities, whom critics of the caucuses have long said are blocked from the process.

The changes are expected to boost voter participation across the board, presenting a new opportunity for the Democratic Party's 2020 candidates to drive up support in the crucial early voting states.

The Nevada Democrats' caucus director, Shelby Wiltz, calls the system "a no-excuse option" for voter participation.

"I’m proud of Nevada Democrats for stepping up and taking action to expand access to our presidential nominating process,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “Our democracy works best when more people can participate, not fewer. Nevada Democrats are working to energize our grassroots and ensure that the voice of the people rings loud and clear on Caucus Day.”  

“We’re making good on our goal to make the First in the West caucus the most accessible and expansive process yet. In 2020, Nevada Democrats will now have the convenience of participating in the caucus from home--or anywhere--just by using their phone,” said Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II. “The Silver State plays a decisive role in choosing our country’s Democratic nominee for president--We are the first Western state, the first diverse state, and the only early battleground state. We know it is imperative that Democrats across our state have every option and opportunity available to vote and I couldn’t be more excited to see this new process become a reality.”

Early voting: Saturday, February 15 - Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Virtual caucus: Sunday, February 16 - Monday, February 17, 2020

Caucus Day: Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Nevada Secretary of State says the date for Republican Caucus has yet to be announced.

(The Associated Press, NV Dems contributed to this report.)