So the Democrats don’t know how to count, and now there’s going to be a recanvass. “Enough is enough.” Rare is the statement from Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez that makes much sense, but he was dead on when he uttered those words.
The nation awaited the results of the Iowa caucus Monday – but none came. Finally, reports came out that a smartphone app used to report results crashed. Then the backup failed. Then, at 10:26 p.m., the Iowa Democratic Party claimed the app was fine, but that they found “inconsistencies in the reporting” and had delayed the results. That was Feb. 3. As of Feb. 6, according to Politico, one precinct still had not reported.
Whether the issue is an actual app failure, that caucus staff can’t count, don’t understand how to use mobile apps, or simply failed to adequately communicate with each other, the caucus was a complete disaster. It’s probably just going to get worse with a recanvass – even if it doesn’t evolve into a recount. It took all week to get 99.94% of the votes tallied and reported the first time. How long will we wait to get the updated numbers?
The Results, Accurate or Not
The early results showed Pete Buttigieg in a clear lead, followed by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in second and third, respectively. Joe Biden brought up fourth place, with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in fifth. With all but one precinct reporting, the results of the initial count stood at a near-tie between Buttigieg and Sanders – 26.2% to 26.1% – 18% for Warren, 15.8% for Biden, and 12.3% for Klobuchar. The next closest candidate is Andrew Yang, with just 1%.
But those numbers, it seems, aren’t accurate. The New York Times reported Wednesday that vote tallies didn’t all add up and that, in some precincts, the wrong number of delegates were allotted to certain candidates. And finally, at least in some cases, the Iowa Democratic Party’s reported results didn’t match those reported by the precincts.
In short, it was a complete and total breakdown of the democratic process.
“Enough is enough,” Perez tweeted Thursday. “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.”
The Timing? Suspicious
Perez’s demand for a recanvass did come right as Sen. Sanders seemed to be catching up to and maybe even overtaking Buttigieg. Could this just be the DNC bending Bernie over the table again, as they did in 2016? Sanders supporter Shaun King certainly thinks so. “Let me see if I understand this,” King tweeted. “Ninety-seven percent of the votes are counted. Bernie surges and is about to take the lead in delegates. Tom Perez calls for something called a ‘recanvass.’”
A new batch of Iowa caucus results released Thursday morning showed Sanders taking and growing a lead in the popular vote over Buttigieg by more than 2,500 votes. It also brought him into a near-tie for delegates.
Sanders supporters are understandably upset – and many have called for Perez to resign.
The Recanvass, What to Expect
A recanvass will require checking the math on the worksheets of all 1,756 precincts to make sure the totals add up to what was reported. A recount, on the other hand, would require the hand-counting of about 180,000 cards. Perez asked for a recanvass, but that could very quickly turn into a recount if things just aren’t adding up.
A number of caucus chairs reported throughout the week that there were undercounts in the cards they submitted to the state and the number of people who voted, meaning that not everyone turned in a card. In other words, a recount is entirely possible and don’t hold your breath for a speedy release of updated results. If the week following the initial caucus is any indication, this is going to take a while.
Was Shaun King right? Is the DNC trying to give Bernie the boot? As close as it is, a recount could halt the Sanders surge – if the votes were counted wrong the first time or if the anti-Sanders crowd finds a way to give Buttigieg a boost.
Whatever comes, don’t expect Warren, Biden, Klobuchar, or any of the lower-ranked candidates to fare much differently. This show is all about Mayor Pete and Bernie – and regardless of the end results, you can be sure there will be drama.
Read more from James Fite.