All the more reason to audit Democratic caucus results
Thursday, The Des Moines Register’s Editorial Board called for an audit of Iowa’s Democratic Caucus results.
…too many questions have been raised. Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems. Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunities for error amid Monday night’s chaos.
Hillary Clinton was declared the winner with a minuscule two-tenths of 1% victory over Bernie Sanders and some incredibly lucky coin tossing.
Because Iowa’s Democratic Party chair has refused to audit the caucus results. Bernie Sanders’ campaign is doing their part to recount the ballots.
Friday, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian reports that the Iowa Democratic Party changed the altered a precinct’s caucus results, giving a Sanders delegate to Clinton.
In the Iowa Democratic party’s chaotic attempt to report caucus results on Monday night, the results in at least one precinct were unilaterally changed by the party as it attempted to deal with the culmination of a rushed and imperfect process overseeing the first-in-the-nation nominating contest.
In Grinnell Ward 1, the precinct where elite liberal arts college Grinnell College is located, 19 delegates were awarded to Bernie Sanders and seven were awarded to Hillary Clinton on caucus night. However, the Iowa Democratic party decided to shift one delegate from Sanders to Clinton on the night and did not notify precinct chair J Pablo Silva that they had done so. Silva only discovered that this happened the next day, when checking the precinct results in other parts of the county.
In an interview with the Guardian, Silva made clear the issue in Grinnell was merely the result of confusion over party rules in an anomalous situation.
The precinct, which is the largest in the state had 925 caucus-goers and the Iowa Democratic party’s formula for apportioning delegates was not capable of fully dealing with circumstances in such a large precinct, he said. This meant that when people left the course of the caucus process, the algorithm wasn’t capable of dealing with the shift in delegates.
As Silva explained it, the Iowa Democratic party’s formula for apportioning delegates left no method of dealing with one delegate in the precinct. Silva had anticipated this and sought clarification from a party staffer and laid out what seemed to be the correct method. When results were reported to the central reporting center in Des Moines, party staffers, who were able to adjust numbers reported in the much vaunted Microsoft app used by the Iowa Democratic party before they were released to the public, unilaterally made changes. And, as Silva noted: “They did it indirectly in my opinion.”
Sam Lau, a spokesman for the Iowa Democratic party, only told the Guardian about the situation: “We had been made aware of the concerns in this precinct, and we are in the process of reviewing them with local party leadership. We have received a small amount of flags from both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns, and we are addressing each on a case-by-case basis by working with our county leaders.”
While one delegate wouldn’t change the course of the Iowa Democratic Caucus, it provides credence to calls to audit the results.
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