IOWA CAUCUS 2020

Top Iowa Republicans defend caucuses after Democratic miscues

Campus-goers raise their hands to vote during the Republican Party Caucus at the Butcher Block Steakhouse in Cedar Rapid
Campus-goers raise their hands to vote during the Republican Party Caucus at the Butcher Block Steakhouse in Cedar Rapids, IA on Monday, Feb 3, 2020. (David Harmantas/Freelance)

DES MOINES – In a move toward bipartisan solidarity, Iowa’s top three Republicans today issued a statement defending the state’s first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses against an onslaught of public outcry over delaying in announcing the results of Monday’s voter choices.

“Iowa’s bipartisan first-in-the-nation status helped lead to the nomination of President Obama and has the full backing of President Trump. The process is not suffering because of a short delay in knowing the final results,” said Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst in a joint statement.

Words like chaos, confusion and incompetent have been slapped on the Iowa Democratic Party’s caucus results debacle that unfolded Monday night and still begs for results and explanations today. Before departing for New Hampshire and its Feb. 11 primary, the top-tier 2020 Democratic candidates thanked their supporters with indications they either had prevailed or made strong showings in the yet-to-be-released Iowa results.

In a statement issued today, Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price said the caucus data “was sound” but there were “inconsistencies” with the reports that required investigation, which took time.

“Because of the required paper documentation, we have been able to verify that the data recorded in the app and used to calculate State Delegate Equivalents is valid and accurate. Precinct level results are still being reported to the IDP,” Price said. “While our plan is to release results as soon as possible today, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the integrity and accuracy of the process continues to be upheld.”

Against that backdrop, Grassley, Ernst and Reynolds came to the defense of the process in an effort to protect Iowa’s coveted first-place position, saying “Iowa’s unique role encourages a grassroots nominating process that empowers everyday Americans, not Washington insiders or powerful billionaires.

“The face-to-face retail politics nature of Iowa’s caucus system also encourages dialogue between candidates and voters that makes our presidential candidates accountable for the positions they take and the records they hold,” the Republican trio stated.

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“Iowa’s large population of independent voters and its practice of careful deliberation contributes greatly to the national presidential primary and makes it the ideal state to kick off the nominating process,” they added.

“Iowans and all Americans should know we have complete confidence that every last vote will be counted and every last voice will be heard,” according to Iowa’s top Republicans. “We look forward to Iowa carrying on its bipartisan legacy of service in the presidential nominating process.”

For a third consecutive cycle, Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential precinct caucuses featured an error or delay in reporting results.

Unofficial results from Monday’s Democratic Iowa caucuses, the kickoff of the process that ultimately selects the nation’s next president, were delayed as the state party dealt with “inconsistencies in the reporting.” Iowa Democratic Party officials said results would be released sometime today.

Precinct leaders across the state said they had problems using the app designed to report results to the state party, and also had problems reaching the state party in order to use backup systems.

The delay in reporting official results came on a night when the state party planned to alter the way it reported caucus results.

For the first time, the party planned to release not only the final number of state delegate equivalents earned by each candidate, but the number of participants who lined up for each candidate in the first and final rounds of caucusing.

“We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results,” the state party said in a statement. “In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report. This is simply a reporting issue; the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”

Here is Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price’s statement:

“Last night, more than 1,600 precinct caucuses gathered across the state of Iowa and at satellite caucuses around the world to demonstrate our shared values and goal of taking back the White House. The many volunteers running caucus sites, new voters registering as Democrats, and neighbors talking to each other about the future of our country demonstrated the strength of our party.

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“We have every indication that our systems were secure and there was not a cyber-security intrusion. In preparation for the caucuses, our systems were tested by independent cybersecurity consultants.

“As precinct caucus results started coming in, the IDP ran them through an accuracy and quality check. It became clear that there were inconsistencies with the reports. The underlying cause of these inconsistencies was not immediately clear, and required investigation, which took time.

“As this investigation unfolded, IDP staff activated pre-planned backup measures and entered data manually. This took longer than expected.

“As part of our investigation, we determined with certainty that the underlying data collected via the app was sound. While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system. This issue was identified and fixed. The application’s reporting issue did not impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately.

“Because of the required paper documentation, we have been able to verify that the data recorded in the app and used to calculate State Delegate Equivalents is valid and accurate. Precinct level results are still being reported to the IDP. While our plan is to release results as soon as possible today, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the integrity and accuracy of the process continues to be upheld.”

Here is the joint statement from Reynolds, Grassley and Ernst:

DES MOINES – Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst released the following joint statement regarding Iowa’s presidential caucuses:

“Iowa’s unique role encourages a grassroots nominating process that empowers everyday Americans, not Washington insiders or powerful billionaires. The face-to-face retail politics nature of Iowa’s caucus system also encourages dialogue between candidates and voters that makes our presidential candidates accountable for the positions they take and the records they hold.

“Iowa’s large population of independent voters and its practice of careful deliberation contributes greatly to the national presidential primary and makes it the ideal state to kick off the nominating process.

“Iowa’s bipartisan first-in-the-nation status helped lead to the nomination of President Obama and has the full backing of President Trump. The process is not suffering because of a short delay in knowing the final results.

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“Iowans and all Americans should know we have complete confidence that every last vote will be counted and every last voice will be heard.

“We look forward to Iowa carrying on its bipartisan legacy of service in the presidential nominating process.”

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

LATEST RESULTS: Delegate counts, and first and final alignments

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