After a tech-related debacle sidetracked the initial announcement of Iowa Democratic caucus results on Monday night, an analysis of the just released vote counts has found they are still riddled with mistakes and inaccuracies.
More than 100 precincts reported results on Wednesday that were “internally inconsistent,” missing data or not possible under the Iowa caucus’ rules, according to a New York Times analysis published Thursday.
According to The Times, the errors suggested the state’s caucus leaders struggled to follow caucus rules or adopt additional reporting requirements introduced since 2016 and that the Iowa Democratic Party failed to validate the results before making them public.
Members of The Times’ statistical analysis team discovered circumstances in which votes didn’t add up, while in other cases precincts were shown allotting the wrong number of delegates to candidates.
Meanwhile, the analysis found discrepancies between the results reported by the Iowa Democratic Party and those reported by some precincts.
The Times’ team saw no evidence that the errors were biased in favor of a particular candidate.
However, the closeness of the race means even minor mistakes could cast a pall of doubt over the results.
A spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party told The Times that the party reported the results given to it by the precincts.
Officials blamed inconsistencies related to a new mobile app used for vote counting for the unusual delay in Iowa, the state that traditionally kicks off a presidential election campaign that culminates this year on Nov. 3.
The uncertainty enraged Democrats worried it would only strengthen President Donald Trump’s bid for re-election and prompted some Democratic candidates’ campaigns to question whether the results would be legitimate.
“As leader of the party I apologize deeply for this,” Iowa State Party Chairman Troy Price told reporters. “We’ve been working day and night to make sure these results are accurate.”
With 97 percent of precincts reporting from Monday’s caucuses, former Vice President Joe Biden was behind former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the first nominating contest of the 2020 campaign.
Buttigieg, 38, held a very narrow lead over Sanders, 78, in the Iowa caucuses, according to partial results released on Wednesday. Problems with an app used for vote counting had delayed a final count. Warren, 70, placed third.
Buttigieg, who would be the first openly gay president if elected, had 26.2 percent of state delegate equivalents, the data traditionally reported to determine the winner. Sanders was closing in with 26.1 percent, Warren was at 18.2 percent, and Biden garnered 15.8 percent.
Sanders was slightly ahead of Buttigieg in the Iowa popular vote, which is not used to determine the delegates who will formally choose the nominee at the Democratic National Convention in July.