- The Democratic National Committee demanded a recanvass on Thursday of the election results in the Iowa caucuses.
- The development came after a series of breakdowns in the reporting process, unexplained inconsistencies, and errors in the results.
- A recanvass is different than a recount. It consists of local election officials recalculating election results to determine if there’s a difference in the number of votes that each candidate received.
- A recount takes place through the court system and is paid for by the campaign that requests it. In a recount, the circuit court would be responsible for double-checking the ballots, and all election machines and other infrastructure would be turned over to the court.
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The Democratic National Committee demanded a recanvass on Thursday of the results in the Iowa caucuses.
DNC chairman Tom Perez made the announcement after The New York Times published a detailed and troubling analysis showing that “more than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses.”
“Enough is enough,” Perez tweeted. “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”
Shortly after Perez’s tweet, the Iowa Democratic Party released a statement saying it has “taken unprecedented steps to gather redundant reports to ensure accuracy of all underlying data,” adding that it would not conduct a recanvass of the results unless a candidate formally requests one through the proper channels.
A reconvass consists of local election officials recalculating election results to determine if there’s a difference in the number of votes that each candidate received.
In this case, Iowa election authorities would audit all caucus worksheets and reporting forms by hand to double-check that they were correctly tallied up and reported.
A recount, on the other hand, takes place through the court system and is paid for by the campaign that requests it. In a recount, the circuit court would be responsible for double-checking the ballots, and all election machines and other infrastructure would be turned over to the court.
In this specific case, a recount is not an option because the Iowa caucuses don’t use paper ballots and instead rely on preference cards.
The Iowa caucuses have been a mess since they began on Monday.
Almost four days after they took place, the Iowa Democratic Party still has not declared a winner with 97% of the precincts reporting as of 2 p.m. CT because of a series of breakdowns in the reporting process, unexplained inconsistencies, and errors in the results.
A number of factors – including the catastrophic failure of a mobile app designed to submit precinct results, inconsistent calculations of final results, and jammed phone lines causing hours-long holds – barred precinct captains from initially sending the proper data to the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters.
The breakdown delayed a final release of the results.
Caucuses consist of two rounds of preference expression, or alignments, to determine which candidates are viable to receive delegates.
If a caucusgoer’s first-choice candidate doesn’t break the delegate threshold on the first alignment, they can either switch their preference to a candidate who is viable after the first round, try to combine forces with other caucusgoers to make their original first-choice candidate viable on the second alignment, or categorise themselves as an uncommitted caucusgoer.
In the end, the Iowa Democratic Party reported three sets of results: the initial votes from the first alignment for all the precincts, the results from the second alignment, and the estimated state delegate equivalents (SDEs) calculated from the results of the second alignment.
The results from the Iowa Democratic caucuses from 97% of precincts showed Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg neck and neck in the total vote count from the second alignment and statistically tied in SDEs.
Currently, Sanders leads the statewide popular vote by 5,954 votes on the first alignment and 2,518 votes from the second alignment over Buttigieg, who holds 550 SDEs compared to 547 for Sanders.
But shortly after Perez demanded a recanvassing of the vote on Thursday, Sanders declared “a very strong victory” in the Iowa caucuses.
In a New Hampshire press conference, Sanders argued that even though results from 3% of precincts are still missing, he is the rightful winner in Iowa because he leads Buttigieg in the popular vote on both the first and second alignments.
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