This article is by Nate Cohn, Andrew Fischer, Josh Katz, Denise Lu, Charlie Smart and Ben Smithgall.
The results released by the Iowa Democratic Party on Wednesday were riddled with inconsistencies and other flaws. According to a New York Times analysis, more than 192 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses.
In some cases, vote tallies do not add up. In others, precincts are shown allotting the wrong number of delegates to certain candidates. And in at least a few cases, the Iowa Democratic Party’s reported results do not match those reported by the precincts.
Some of these inconsistencies. may prove to be innocuous, and the irregularities do not indicate an intentional effort to compromise or rig the result. There is no apparent bias in favor of the leaders Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders, meaning the overall effect on the winner’s margin may be small.
But not all of the errors are minor, and they raise questions about whether the public will ever get a completely precise account of the Iowa results. With Mr. Sanders closing to within 0.1 percentage points with (percent of 1, 823 precincts reporting, the race could easily grow close enough for even the most minor errors to delay a final projection or raise doubts about a declared winner.
The errors suggest that many Iowa caucus leaders struggled to follow the rules of their party’s caucuses, or to adopt the additional reporting requirements introduced since . They show that the Iowa Democratic Party, despite the long delays, failed to validate all of the results fully before releasing them to the public. Mandy McClure, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP), said the party reported the data as provided to it by the precinct caucuses.
“The caucus math work sheet is the official report on caucus night to the IDP, and the IDP reports the results as delivered by the precinct chair, ”she said. “This form must be signed by the caucus chair, the caucus secretary and representatives from each campaign in the room who attest to its accuracy. Under the rules of the delegate selection process, delegates are awarded based off the record of results as provided by each precinct caucus chair. ”
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