What happened with the Iowa Caucus?

Credit: Andrew Harnik

Credit: Andrew Harnik

At 10 p.m. Monday, hours after the presidential caucuses concluded in Iowa, there were no voting results available. As the sun rose Tuesday, the situation had not changed.

Reporting “inconsistencies,” problems with an app meant to speed up the count, and an overwhelmed phone line for reporting results angered candidates and embarrassed Iowa Democratic Party officials as the state and the nation waited for results from the first-in-the-nation caucus.

State party officials told The Associated Press that final results would be released later Tuesday and offered assurances that the problem was not a result of “a hack or an intrusion." Officials were conducting quality checks and verifying results, prioritizing the integrity of the results, the party said in a statement.

According to AP, shortly before 2 a.m., party officials were sending people to the homes of precinct captains who hadn't reported their vote counts.

Just after 9:30 a.m. ET, the Iowa Democratic Party said the caucus delay was due to a “coding issue’” that has been fixed, and that it would release results Tuesday afternoon.

For the first time, three sets of results were set to be reported in Iowa. A tally of caucusgoers’ initial candidate preference; vote totals from the “final alignment” after supporters of lower-ranking candidates were able to make a second choice; and the total number of State Delegate Equivalents each candidate receives are what officials were still counting on Tuesday.

The fact that there were no official results did not stop candidates from declaring victory and leaving the field, headed to New Hampshire and next week’s primary.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he had “a good feeling we're going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa” once results were posted. “Today marks the beginning of the end for Donald Trump," he predicted.

"Listen, it’s too close to call," Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said. "The road won’t be easy. But we are built for the long haul."

And Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was most certain.

“So we don’t know all the results, but we know by the time it’s all said and done, Iowa, you have shocked the nation,” he said. "By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”

President Donald Trump won the Republican caucus and was quick to comment on the Democrats’ troubles.

“The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “Nothing works, just like they ran the Country.” He added: "The only person that can claim a very big victory in Iowa last night is ‘Trump.’”

Iowa Democratic Party officials said just after 9 a.m. ET that they still did not have results, but expected them later this afternoon.

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price released this statement:

“Last night, more than 1,600 precinct caucuses gathered across the state of Iowa and at satellite caucuses around the world to demonstrate our shared values and goal of taking back the White House. The many volunteers running caucus sites, new voters registering as Democrats, and neighbors talking to each other about the future of our country demonstrated the strength of our party.

“We have every indication that our systems were secure and there was not a cybersecurity intrusion. In preparation for the caucuses, our systems were tested by independent cybersecurity consultants.

“As precinct caucus results started coming in, the IDP ran them through an accuracy and quality check. It became clear that there were inconsistencies with the reports. The underlying cause of these inconsistencies was not immediately clear and required investigation, which took time.

“As this investigation unfolded, IDP staff activated pre-planned backup measures and entered data manually. This took longer than expected.

“As part of our investigation, we determined with certainty that the underlying data collected via the app was sound. While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system. This issue was identified and fixed. The application’s reporting issue did not impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately.

“Because of the required paper documentation, we have been able to verify that the data recorded in the app and used to calculate State Delegate Equivalents is valid and accurate. Precinct level results are still being reported to the IDP. While our plan is to release results as soon as possible today, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the integrity and accuracy of the process continues to be upheld.”

The lateness of the vote count led some to claim that the results may be rigged, in particular from Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale and Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric Trump.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author