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Iowa caucus results contain errors, inconsistencies: NYT

Results from the Iowa Democratic caucuses released on Wednesday show inconsistencies and errors that in some cases contradict the rules of the first-in-the-nation nominating contest, according to The New York Times.

An analysis by the Times published online on Thursday found inconsistent vote tallies, incorrect delegate allocations and, in a few instances, numbers reported by the Iowa Democratic Party that are different than the ones reported by individual precincts. 

The Hill was able to independently verify some of these errors after reviewing caucus results posted by the Iowa Democratic Party.

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There’s no evidence that the inconsistencies were intentional or that the two front-runners in the caucuses, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegJuan Williams: Clyburn is my choice as politician of the year 'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump Manchin: Ocasio-Cortez 'more active on Twitter than anything else' MORE (I-Vt.), significantly benefited from the errors. 

Mandy McClure, the communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP), told the Times in a statement that the state party has reported the caucus results as recorded by the individual precincts. 

“The caucus math work sheet is the official report on caucus night to the I.D.P., and the I.D.P. reports the results as delivered by the precinct chair,” McClure said in a statement to the Times. 

“This form must be signed by the caucus chair, the caucus secretary and representatives from each campaign in the room who attest to its accuracy. Under the rules of the delegate selection process, delegates are awarded based off the record of results as provided by each precinct caucus chair.”

But the apparent reporting issues raise questions about just how precise the results are after initial tallies were delayed this week following technical difficulties and quality control checks. As of Thursday morning, 97 percent of precincts in Iowa had reported results. 

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Buttigieg and Sanders are running neck-and-neck in the caucus results, separated by a scant 0.1 percentage point. Meanwhile, the current third- and fourth-place contenders, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: McConnell offering new coronavirus relief bill | Biden introduces economic team, vows swift action on relief | Rare Mnuchin-Powell spat takes center stage at COVID-19 hearing Biden introduces economic team, vows swift action on struggling economy Louisville mayor declares racism a public health crisis MORE (D-Mass.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump Cruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge MORE, are running well behind the two leaders.

One error in Indianola’s second precinct in Warren County, first identified by the Times, shows Sanders and Warren picking up support on the final caucus alignment even though neither was recorded as viable in the first alignment — an apparent violation of caucus rules.

In the same precinct, two other candidates, Tom SteyerTom SteyerBiden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Late donor surges push election spending projections to new heights New voters surge to the polls MORE and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks Merrick Garland on list to be Biden's attorney general: report Ralph Gants, chief justice of Massachusetts supreme court, dies at 65 MORE, lost votes in the final alignment, even though both were apparently viable in the first alignment. 

Caucus rules dictate that, once a candidate is considered viable at a given precinct — usually meaning they notch at least 15 percent support in the first alignment — they cannot lose support on realignment. 

In another case, in the Cedar Township precinct in Johnson County, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (D-Minn.) received 0.405 state delegate equivalents after getting 22 votes in the final alignment, while Sanders, who got 28 votes in the final alignment, received zero state delegate equivalents.

The Iowa Democratic Party has already identified and corrected some mistakes in the reporting process. 

As of Thursday morning, the campaigns and voters were still waiting for the final results of the caucuses, though it is unclear when the Iowa Democratic Party will release them. Meanwhile, the candidates have already moved on to New Hampshire, which holds its presidential primary on Tuesday.