Iowa Democrats extend deadline for campaigns to request recanvass of caucus results
The Iowa Democratic Party is extending the deadline for presidential campaigns to request a recanvass of caucus results amid concerns about inconsistencies and errors in the tally.
In a statement issued on Friday, the party said that it would delay a Friday deadline to request a recanvass, giving the campaigns until noon on Monday to do so.
The party also said that it is providing the campaigns with the chance to submit documentary evidence of any discrepancies in the results.
The announcement came a day after Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called for a recanvass of the vote in Iowa. He later backtracked, saying that only the results from precincts with reporting inconsistencies should be recanvassed.
A recanvass would mean reexamining the worksheets used by each caucus site to record votes, a process that could take days, extending a delay that has already cast a shadow over the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
Results from the caucuses have slowly trickled out over the past several days. The Iowa Democratic Party released its final batch of numbers on Thursday night. Those tallies show former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg narrowly leading Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the state delegate equivalent count, the metric traditionally used to determine the winner.
But errors and inconsistencies in the tabulations released by the Iowa party have prompted some campaigns and political observers to question the accuracy of the vote. The Associated Press, which typically calls election results, said on Thursday that it was unable to declare a winner in Iowa, because of discrepancies that muddled the final tally.
Both Buttigieg and Sanders have declared victory in the state, with the latter pointing to his 2,500-vote lead in raw totals released by the party. The Sanders campaign released a list of discrepancies in the results on Thursday night that it said validated the Vermont senator’s claim to victory.
It’s unclear when, exactly, the outcome of the caucuses will be settled. And even if a recanvass resolves the inconsistencies in the vote, the concerns surrounding the caucuses will likely hover over the Democratic nominating contest for months to come.
There’s no evidence that the inconsistencies in Iowa are the result of any intentional meddling or affected the final outcome of the vote. Still, the chaos has fueled tensions within the Democratic Party, conjuring memories of the 2016 nominating contest that supporters of Sanders still see as being rigged against him.
Speaking to reporters in New Hampshire on Thursday, Sanders admonished the Iowa Democratic Party and the caucus process, saying that officials were “unprepared” and relied on “untested technology” to record results, referring to a fraught effort to use a mobile app to send precinct tallies to the state party in Des Moines.
“What will not happen again, if I have anything to say about it, is a caucus this complicated,” Sanders said.
With the caucus drama still unfolding in Iowa, the candidates have flocked to New Hampshire, the next nominating state. The Granite State is set to hold its primary on Tuesday.