DES MOINES, Iowa — Just when it looked like people would finally get the full results from Monday’s Iowa Caucuses, there’s yet another new source of drama. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez demanded that the Iowa Democratic Party “recanvass.” That essentially means the party would have to start counting all over again the results from 1,756 precincts. Those results have already been called into question following a series of delays, technological failures, jammed phone lines, complaints about improper training and reporting errors in the results.
Thursday morning, Perez tweeted that “enough is enough.”
Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) February 6, 2020
A recanvass is a review of the worksheets from each caucus site to ensure accuracy.
The IDP will continue to report results.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) February 6, 2020
The Iowa Democratic Party has been unable to report the full results from Monday’s Caucuses after the phone app that it purchased for precinct leaders to report information from caucus sites didn’t work properly. Chairman Troy Price blamed a coding error. Precinct leaders and county chairs have told Channel 13 that the app didn’t download properly and users couldn’t sign on and enter the information. The backup hotline the party set up to take calls from precinct leaders then got overwhelmed and some leaders waited hours.
The state party has been contacting precinct and county party chairs to retrieve the information and then releasing the results in a series of stages.
Initially, it appeared that Pete Buttigieg–the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana– would accumulate the most state delegate equivalents of any presidential candidate. But as the results continued to become public, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders narrowed the gap to nearly 0.1 percent. That occurred as the state party began to include the results of satellite caucuses, the new addition to this year’s Caucuses as a way to increase access for people to the process.
Those numbers became a source of contention, according to sources close to the results process. Sources say that Buttigieg’s campaign contends the state party computed the state delegate equivalents incorrectly and gave too many of them to Sanders. That error, Buttigieg’s campaign believes, could give an overall victory to Sanders.
The Iowa Democratic Party hasn’t responded to that allegation but did release this statement:
Iowa Democratic Party Statement on the 2020 Caucus Developments
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price released the following statement on the 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucuses developments:
“While I fully acknowledge that the reporting circumstances on Monday night were unacceptable, we owe it to the thousands of Iowa Democratic volunteers and caucusgoers to remain focused on collecting and reviewing incoming results.
“Throughout the collection of records of results, the IDP identified inconsistencies in the data and used our redundant paper records to promptly correct those errors. This is an ongoing process in close coordination with precinct chairs, and we are working diligently to report the final 54 precincts to get as close to final reporting as possible.
“Going forward, we are fully committed to the integrity of the preferences expressed by dedicated, passionate, and fervent Iowa Democrats. This caucus opened new opportunities for accessibility that were never available before – including over 1,500 caucusgoers attending satellite caucuses in senior living centers, Mosques, and overseas, and first-of-their-kind Spanish language and hand sign sites. This process will not be complete until we honor them.
“Since the beginning of the process, we have taken unprecedented steps to gather redundant reports to ensure accuracy of all underlying data. The IDP is nearing completion in collecting redundant materials from all 1,756 precincts, including hand-collecting materials from all 99 counties which are securely stored in Des Moines.
“Should any presidential campaign in compliance with the Iowa Delegate Selection Plan request a recanvass, the IDP is prepared. In such a circumstance, the IDP will audit the paper records of report, as provided by the precinct chairs and signed by representatives of presidential campaigns. This is the official record of the Iowa Democratic caucus, and we are committed to ensuring the results accurately reflect the preference of Iowans.”
The Iowa Democratic Party has 48 hours to respond to a valid, written, request for recanvass, signed by the candidate. Any request for recanvass must include the scope and credible explanation of the reasons of the request.
The state party has not responded to requests, other than providing the statement. It is unknown how much this new development could delay the final results of Monday’s Caucuses.