The results of the Iowa Democratic caucuses were delayed from being released Monday night due to issues with reporting and concerns about accuracy. In a new report by The New York Times, there is now evidence that the results that were declared may be incorrect, potentially changing the caucus' outcome.
Before the caucuses had finished reporting their numbers, talks of discrepancies had already begun to swirl. Black Hawk County Supervisor Chris Schwartz, frustrated with the lack of results, posted his county's count on Facebook. However, once the official numbers were released by the Iowa Democratic Party, people began to notice a difference in what was reported, as covered by The Inquisitr.
Now, The New York Times is postulating that more than 100 precincts have reported results that are "internally inconsistent." Aside from some self-reported precinct numbers not matching those officially released by the Iowa Democrats, there are other concerns with vote tallies not adding up or — in some cases — candidates being given the wrong number of delegates.
The issue stems from the complicated rules of the Iowa caucus, which were changed in 2016 after Bernie Sanders' campaign raised questions on how the delegates were distributed. The caucus consists of three different rounds. Previously, the rounds were conducted and only the final numbers were reported. For this election cycle, the results of each round were reported to the Iowa Democratic Party, theoretically allowing for transparency in the process.
The New York Times found that the new rules did their job — numerous reporting errors occurred throughout the process. In some cases, the mistakes could be chalked up to simple tabulation errors, something that is to be expected in any election. However, what is more concerning are the instances in which a candidate was given the incorrect number of delegates. In their investigation, the Times found that 15 precincts had attributed delegates to the wrong candidates.
While some errors were found and corrected quickly, there were others that persisted throughout Wednesday night.
The report also found that there was no indication that the results were rigged or manipulated intentionally, as there was no apparent bias toward any one candidate. However, with such a small difference in numbers between the two leaders — Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders — these errors could prevent a true winner from truly being declared. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Buttigieg leads Sanders by 0.1 percent, a margin that makes a definitive victory difficult for either candidate to claim. With the New Hampshire primary on Thursday, candidates missing the bump from an Iowa win could adversely affect their results, and ultimately who secures the Democratic nomination for president.