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Democratic Party head calls for ‘re-canvass’ of Iowa results after delays

Tom Perez said it was needed to ‘assure public confidence’ after three days of technical issues and delays.

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Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee has called for a “re-canvass” of the results of the Iowa caucuses.

Tom Perez said it was needed to “assure public confidence” after three days of technical issues and delays.

”Enough is enough,” Mr Perez wrote on Twitter.

Following the Iowa Democratic Party’s release of new results late on Thursday night, former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg leads Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted. That is a margin of 0.09%.

Both candidates have declared themselves victorious.

But there is evidence the party has not accurately tabulated some of its results, including those the party reported as complete.

The Associated Press is unable to declare a winner.

The state party apologised for technical glitches with an app that slowed down reporting of results from Monday’s caucuses and has spent the week trying to verify results.

However, it was unclear if the party planned to follow the directive of the national leader to re-canvass those results, a process that would probably require state officials to review worksheets completed at more than 1,600 caucus sites to ensure the calculations were done correctly and matched the reported results.

There was a moment in the night where, it became clear, ‘Oh, the phone number just became available to the entire country'Rob Sand

Iowa chairman Troy Price suggested in a statement that he would only pursue a re-canvass if one was requested by a campaign.

The caucus crisis was an embarrassing twist after months of promoting Iowa as a chance for Democrats to find some clarity in a jumbled 2020 field.

Instead, after a buildup that featured seven rounds of debates, nearly $1 billion (£772 million) spent nationwide and a year of political jockeying, caucus day ended with no winner and no official results.

Campaigning in New Hampshire, Mr Sanders called the Iowa Democratic Party’s management of the caucuses a “screw-up” that has been “extremely unfair” to the candidates and their supporters.

“We’ve got enough of Iowa,” he said later at a CNN town hall. “I think we should move onto New Hampshire.”

Iowa marked the first contest in a primary season that will span all 50 states and several US territories, ending at the party’s national convention in July.

The Democrats, they can’t count some simple votes and yet they want to take over your health care systemDonald Trump

As first reported by The New York Times, numerous precincts reported results that contained errors or were inconsistent with party rules.

For example, the Associated Press confirmed that dozens of precincts reported more final alignment votes than first alignment votes, which is not possible under party rules.

In other precincts, viable candidates lost votes from the first alignment tally to the final, which is also inconsistent with party rules.

Some precincts made apparent errors in awarding state delegate equivalents to candidates.

A handful of precincts awarded more state delegate equivalents than they had available. A few others did not award all of theirs.

The trouble began with an app that the Iowa Democratic Party used to tabulate the results of the contest. The app was rolled out shortly before caucusing began and did not go through rigorous testing.

Election 2020-Debate-Questions
Democratic presidential candidates Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

The problems were compounded when phone lines for reporting the outcomes became jammed, with many callers placed on hold for hours in order to report outcomes.

Party officials said the backlog was exacerbated by calls from people around the country who accessed the number and appeared intent on disrupting the process.

“There was a moment in the night where, it became clear, ‘Oh, the phone number just became available to the entire country,’” said Iowa state Auditor Rob Sand, who was answering calls for the party. “It was a pretty big problem.”

President Donald Trump relished in the Democratic turmoil.

“The Democrats, they can’t count some simple votes and yet they want to take over your health care system,” Mr Trump said at a White House event on Thursday celebrating his impeachment trial acquittal. “Think of that – no, think of that.”

Mr Buttigieg and Mr Sanders will emerge from Iowa’s caucuses with the most delegates to the party’s national convention, regardless of which one eventually wins the contest.

They have each won at least 11 national delegates, with a handful of delegates still to be awarded.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has won at least five delegates, while former Vice President Joe Biden has won at least two and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has at least one.

PA