Iowa Democratic caucus results delayed after ‘reporting issue’

2020 Democratic presidential candidates, from left to right, Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar gather onstage for a debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 14. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

Feb. 4 (UPI) — Results of the Iowa caucuses were delayed on Tuesday night after the Iowa Democratic Party reported “inconsistencies” in the reporting of results.

The state planned to report results from each portion of the caucus process for the first time and was using a new app to tally these results, but Iowa Democratic Party Communications Director Mand McClure told CNN the app was not shut down or tampered with and that there is a physical paper trail to check the results against.

“We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results. In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report,” McClure said. “This is simply a reporting issue. The app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”

Iowa Democrats went to their precinct caucuses Monday to vote for their choice for the 2020 U.S. presidential race among a historically large field of candidates and no clear front-runner.

The caucuses officially begin the 2020 primary season, which will ultimately lead to party presidential nominations this summer.

Under Iowa’s Democratic Party caucus system, members gathered at 1,678 neighborhood locations across the state, or at one of 87 “satellite caucus” locations around the world, to cast a ballot for their choice for the Democratic nominee among 11 candidates.

They voted for delegates for the Iowa state party convention who will support the various candidates, which in turn will correlate to the number of delegates for each candidate sent on to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee July 13-16.

The winner of the Iowa caucuses has traditionally been declared based on the number of “state delegate equivalents” they receive. That will also be the case this year, but crucially in such a crowded field with no clear favorite, there is also something new that could allow those not emerging with the most delegates to declare continuing momentum.

During each caucus meeting, attendees are first asked to physically group themselves by presidential choice — this is called the “first alignment.” Candidates not garnering at least 15 percent in this initial round are declared non-viable, and their supporters can either join other groups or try to persuade others to join them.

Then, a second vote is called, the “final alignment,” on which the delegate awards are based. While the number of delegates won has always been reported, the raw numbers achieved by candidates in the first and second alignments have never been released — but starting this year they will be.

This will produce three levels of results and could allow candidates who don’t “win the caucus” by the traditional measure of pledged delegates a chance to claim strength based on good showings in the raw vote totals.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders topped an Emerson College poll Sunday that showed him with 28 percent support, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with 21 percent — followed by former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (15 percent), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (14 percent) and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (11 percent).

However, 34 percent said there is still a chance they could change their vote.

After Iowa, the New Hampshire primary will occur Feb. 11, followed by the Nevada caucuses on February 22. Early primary voting will begin in California on Monday.

Incidentally, Monday marked the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which barred governments from denying persons the right to vote based on race, color or “previous condition of servitude.”

“Following the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the Congress worked to ensure that ‘race, color, or previous condition of servitude’ could no longer be used as grounds to deny an American citizen the right to participate in our democracy,” President Donald Trump said Monday. “This historic amendment granted African-American men the right to vote and allowed them a voice in our great American Experiment.

“Today, as we recognize the remarkable progress we have made as a nation in forming a more perfect union, we acknowledge the challenges that minorities and women have overcome and the significant contributions they continue to make in advancing liberty and building a stronger America.”

Trump won 37 delegates in the Republican caucus, earning 97 percent of the vote, while opponents Joe Walsh and Bill Weld each earned just above 1 percent.


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