What Happened: Iowa Caucus

February 7, 2020

It was an interesting start to the caucus and primary election season. Here’s what happened:

It started off as a standard caucus, with Iowans going to their respective precincts to vote. Business as usual? Sure. The problem, however, wasn’t the actual voting process but the reporting of the votes. Who, or shall we say, what, should we blame it on? Technology. While technology can certainly help with productivity and speed at which things can be done, it can also cause total chaos when something’s not working properly. That’s what happened in Iowa. A new reporting app was developed specifically for the Iowa Caucus so that precincts could more easily and quickly report their results to the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters. Unfortunately, there was a bug in the app and precinct chairs couldn’t report their results. That’s when they turned to the phone and tried calling in their results. Well, with 1,700 precincts trying to report their results over the phone, you can only imagine what happened—the phones were jammed. Some people had to wait over an hour just to speak to someone on the phone. Because of these delays, some precinct chairs ended their caucuses without reporting the actual results, some took pictures of their tallies and called it a day, and some unofficially reported their results to officials because they couldn’t get through to someone at the Democratic Party headquarters.

Now What?

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The Iowa Democratic Party was concerned about the integrity of the results since both the app and the phone lines had failed the reporting process. In order to maintain the integrity of the voting and reporting process, the Iowa Democratic Party chose to delay the release of the results. Instead, they’re taking time to connect with precinct chairs who didn’t report or reported unofficially to request or confirm their results.

So Who Won Iowa?

The results are still coming in, but it looks like Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in the lead, followed by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Amy Klobuchar in fourth and fifth places, respectively.

What’s Next?

Candidates have already moved onto New Hampshire (the next state to vote), but not before declaring victorious in Iowa. How can a candidate declare victory before the results are officially in? Well, candidates have their own staff who calculate the data they’ve collected. It’s not one hundred percent accurate, but it’s a pretty good guess.