The first contest in the Democratic race to challenge President Trump descended into chaos Monday night and Tuesday morning, as reporting “inconsistencies” in the Iowa caucuses ended with zero results being announced.
Observers said the fiasco was sparked by a glitchy new app that caucus-precinct chiefs were supposed to use to report their tallies.
Also, each of the precincts was required to report “three sets of results” — but nothing worked out as expected.
“We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results,” Mandy McClure, the communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) said. “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 insisted the problem was not the result of a “hack.”
“This is simply a reporting issue. The app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion,” she said. “The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”
But in spite of what McClure said, Des Moines County party Chair Tom Courtney said the app created to report the results was “a mess” and caucus organizers instead were reduced to having to phone in their results to state party headquarters in Des Moines, which was overwhelmed with calls and created gridlock.
Earlier in the night, the party said the delay was due to unspecified “quality checks” and new rules requiring the triple check.
For the first time in Iowa’s history, the party decided to calculate three sets of data: tallies of caucusgoers’ first choices; vote totals for the “final alignment” after supporters of a lower-ranked candidate made a second choice; and the total number of “State Delegate Equivalents” each candidate received.
The Democratic Party released a statement that results would be released later on Tuesday.
In a letter to the IDP, Joe Biden’s attorney requested that no results be released until the party provides information to the candidates about how the snafu happened.
“We believe that the campaigns deserve a full explanations and relevant information regarding the methods of quality control you are employing, and an opportunity to respond, before any official results are released,” Dana Remus, the general counsel for Biden, wrote in the letter.
The debacle didn’t stop the leading candidates from taking victory laps on live television.
“At some point, the results will be announced and when those results are announced, I have a good feeling we’re going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a favorite to win the caucuses, told supporters.
“We know there’s delays but we know one thing: We are punching above our weight,” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar told her backers.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, said the race was “too close to call” and used much of her speech to rail against President Trump.
“We don’t know all the results tonight, but tonight has already shown that Americans have a hunger for big structural change,” she said.
The candidates are now on to the New Hampshire primary, which will be held next Tuesday.
Unlike in Iowa, the victor in the Granite State is determined in a tried-and-true way: Whoever gets the most votes wins.
With Wire Services