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An Iowa Caucus Official Was Hung Up On While Trying To Report His Precinct's Results

"Hi, hello? They hung up on me. They hung up on me. OK, I've got to get back in line on hold. They just hung up."

Last updated on February 4, 2020, at 1:14 a.m. ET

Posted on February 4, 2020, at 12:17 a.m. ET

Gene J. Puskar / AP

An Iowa caucus official was hung up on — on live TV — while trying to report his precinct's results to the state Democratic Party by phone late Monday night as candidates and their supporters angrily waited for the first official numbers to be released.

Shawn Sebastian, the caucus secretary for a precinct in Story County, said he had been on hold for over an hour with the Iowa Democratic Party, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer that a phone app created to report the results wasn't working.

"The app, by all accounts, just, like, doesn't work so we've been recommended to call in to the hotline, and the hotline has not been responsive," Sebastian said.

While on the phone with the anchor, Sebastian finally got off hold with the party's phone line — but before he could respond, they hung up on him.

"Hi, hello? They hung up on me. They hung up on me," he said. "OK, I've got to get back in line on hold. They just hung up."

Here's @shawnsebastian getting hung up as he attempts to report Iowa caucus results on live TV

As of 11 p.m. CT, the state party had yet to report any results from the nation's first presidential primary contest, saying that it was doing "quality control" on the results.

A spokesperson for the party said in a statement that it had found "inconsistencies in the reporting" of the results, saying that "the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion."

On the Iowa Democratic Party call with campaigns just now, according to participants. IDP said they have 35% of precinct numbers reported and due to “user error” with their app, found some slight “inconsistencies” - that some numbers “didn’t add up.”

A source for one of the campaigns told BuzzFeed News, “The app is clearly not working and the backup phone line is likewise a disaster."

After being hung up on, Sebastian tweeted out the results from his precinct and got back on the phone with the state party.

@BernieSanders @ewarren @PeteButtigieg These are the results that I've been trying to report for about 2 hours now. I was on hold for about 90 min, CNN wanted to interview about my experience, and in that moment I got off hold ... but couldn't get on fast enough and they hung up on me. I'm back on hold.

Sebastian said he was able to report his precinct's results a little after 11 p.m., tweeting that it took almost 20 minutes "with all the complicated things to report."

"Starting to understand why I was on hold for so long," he said.

@BernieSanders @ewarren @PeteButtigieg Update: I got connected a little after 11 pm and reported my results. With all the complicated things to report (total, first alignment, caveats about the math and totals, etc.) it took almost 20 minutes to report. Starting to understand why I was on hold for so long ...

The delays in results came after the state party made several changes to the caucus process this year.

Under the new rules, the party planned to release three sets of numbers for the contest: the raw totals from the first round of caucusing, the raw totals from the final round after candidate cuts for viability, and the state delegate equivalents.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.