Campaign

AP unable to declare winner in Iowa caucuses

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The Associated Press said Thursday that it is unable to declare a winner in Iowa’s Democratic caucuses after irregularities and inconsistencies marred the results.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg leads Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the first-in-the-nation caucus state by just 1/10th of a percentage point. Both candidates have declared victory in the caucuses, with Sanders becoming the latest to do so on Thursday.

“The Associated Press calls a race when there is a clear indication of a winner. Because of a tight margin between former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders and the irregularities in this year’s caucus process, it is not possible to determine a winner at this point,” said Sally Buzbee, the AP’s senior vice president and executive editor, according to the news outlet.

The full caucus results have been delayed for days following reporting irregularities and technical difficulties with an app used by caucus officials to send tallies to the state party in Des Moines.

Since then, the Iowa Democratic Party has gradually released partial results, though new concerns have emerged about the accuracy of those tallies after reports of errors and inconsistencies.

The mounting concerns about the precision of the count prompted Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez to call for a recanvassing of the vote on Thursday. Such a recanvass would mean reviewing the worksheets used by each caucus site, a process that would surely delay the results even longer.

The Iowa Democratic Party has said that it is prepared to recanvass the results if one of the candidates requests that it do so. 

An analysis of the results that have been released so far shows a number of errors and inconsistencies, some of which appear to contradict the Iowa Democratic Party’s caucus rules. 

One example in Indianola’s second precinct in Warren County, first identified by The New York Times, shows Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) 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 Steyer and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, lost votes in the final alignment, even though both were apparently viable in the first alignment.

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

Still, the candidates have expressed frustration with the reporting issues in Iowa. Speaking to reporters in New Hampshire on Thursday, Sanders criticized the Iowa Democratic Party as “unprepared.”

“They put forth such a complicated process, relied on untested technology,” he said, later adding, “What will not happen again if I have anything to say about it is a caucus this complicated.”

 
Updated at 7 p.m.
Tags 2020 election Associated Press Bernie Sanders Democratic primary Deval Patrick Elizabeth Warren Iowa caucuses Pete Buttigieg Tom Perez Tom Steyer
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