The Iowa Democratic Party has now reported 100% of the results of Monday's Iowa presidential caucuses after a nightmarish delay — but it still might take even longer to determine an actual winner because of what look like errors in the data.
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez called on the Iowa Democratic Party to "recanvass" the caucus results on Thursday morning. In practice, that would mean a hand audit of the papers used in each precinct to ensure the math calculating delegates is correct.
The Iowa Democratic Party indicated on Thursday that the party will only recanvass if a campaign formally requests the process. But news outlets, including NBC News, have already said they will not project a winner off of the data.
As the state party has continued to report results, some news outlets have found what they believe to be errors in the reporting of the extremely close results. Currently, Pete Buttigieg has an extremely narrow lead over Bernie Sanders in the delegate count — less than two delegates — in a virtual tie.
For the first time this year, the IDP released three sets of results. When you attend a Democratic caucus in Iowa, you select your candidate on the first vote. A caucus chair counts up everyone in the room. This is called the first alignment.
After that, if your candidate doesn’t meet 15% of the vote, you can pick another candidate, go home, or form an alliance with enough people who no longer have a viable candidate to hit 15%. Then the caucus chair counts again. That’s the final alignment.
The final alignment is used to determine delegates for the state convention and, ultimately, delegates for the national convention this summer. This is called the delegate equivalent.
Sanders, meanwhile, thanked Iowa for a resounding victory on Monday at a press conference in New Hampshire.
"This difference," Sanders added, "no matter who inches ahead in the end, is meaningless because we are both likely to receive the same number of national delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee."
Asked why he was claiming victory when Buttigieg has also claimed victory, Sanders said, "Because I got 6,000 more votes."
We're showing you the final alignment and the state delegate equivalent here. The data is still incomplete. So please be cautious with this data:
Earlier in the week, the party pegged the problem to a "coding error" with an app being used in caucuses across Iowa. Campaigns have been left frustrated and largely in the dark as the results trickle out.
None of this is how the caucus was supposed to go. The Iowa Democratic Party determined late Monday night that there was a technical problem in how the caucus results were being reported, which the party said was not due to a hack but rather an issue with how an app brought data from individual precincts to the central party. The party has consistently said throughout the last day that it believed the underlying data to be sound.
“As precinct caucus results started coming in, the IDP ran them through an accuracy and quality check," Price said in a Tuesday morning statement. "It became clear that there were inconsistencies with the reports." The party had determined by the morning that the issue was "due to a coding issue in the reporting system," he said. "This issue was identified and fixed."
The delay in results has created an unexpected vacuum, and several campaigns have suggested they may have won based on internal data. One candidate — Buttigieg — declared victory outright on Monday night. Campaigns have been livid with the state party, expressing frustration in a series of late-night calls into Tuesday morning. Some campaigns have suggested the actual results could be flawed.
Before releasing the first batch of results, Price apologized for the boondoggle from the night before. He also tried to assure people that the results being released were accurate and backed up by a paper trail, addressing concerns and conspiracy theories — some pushed by Donald Trump Jr. — that the Democratic primary had been rigged.
Price also added that the party would be conducting an independent review.
“We have been working day and night to make sure that these results are accurate,” he said. “The underlying data, the raw data, is secure. It’s always been secure.”