The Iowa Democratic Party on Wednesday agreed to a partial recanvassing of last week’s chaotic caucuses after requests from Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, who finished neck-and-neck in the contest.
In a letter from Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price to both Buttigieg and Sanders’ campaigns, Price said that the committee is “accepting your full request and will conduct a recanvass of those precincts.”
According to the Iowa Democratic Party, on Friday morning, the IDP Recanvass/Recount Committee, in consultation with the State Central Committee, will transmit to the campaigns further details on costs associated with the recanvass and the timeline going forward. Campaigns will have 24 hours from receipt of that information to provide the IDP with a final decision on whether to proceed with the request.
The committee said Wednesday that it “expects the recanvass to commence beginning Sunday, February 16, and last for two days.”
“The recanvass will be conducted by appointed recanvass administrators, under the supervision and direction of the Committee,” the party said in a statement Wednesday. “In accordance with the Delegate Selection Plan, up to two representatives from each presidential campaign will be allowed to oversee the precinct recanvass on site. Per the DSP, the recanvassing room will not be open to the public or the press.”
The party’s agreement with the campaigns come after both asked the IDP to recanvass a total of 85 precincts.
The Sanders campaign requested a recanvass of 25 precincts and three satellite caucuses, which it argued had errors in counting. If the errors exist, the Sanders campaign says it will pick up one more national delegate and tip the balance of the race in Sanders’ favor.
Meanwhile, Buttigieg’s campaign has asked for a recanvass of 66 precincts.
A recanvass is not a recount, but a check of the vote count against paper records to ensure the counts were reported accurately.
While the IDP on Sunday released updated results showing Buttigieg leading Sanders by two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted, the Associated Press says it is still unable to declare a winner because the wire service believes the results may not be fully accurate and are still subject to potential revision.
Both Buttigieg and Sanders have claimed victory in the Iowa caucuses—Buttigieg, because he holds a razor-thin lead in the delegate count; Sanders, because he has received the most total support in overall raw votes.
Technical issues roiled the caucuses. An app used by party volunteers to report results and jammed phone lines set up for the same purpose resulted in the IDP failing to release any results to the public until nearly a day after the event. Party volunteers found inconsistencies in the complicated math used by caucus volunteers to calculate the outcome of each individual caucus.
To confirm the validity of the data they received, IDP officials spent much of the week collecting paper records of the results and checking them against the numbers reported by volunteers. But issues continued to plague the party’s reporting, and the IDP on Saturday said it was reviewing reported inconsistencies in 95 precincts. On Sunday, they released updated results, which still gave Buttigieg a narrow lead in the delegate count.
Meanwhile, Sanders won New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, with 27.4 percent of the vote to Buttigieg’s 24.4 percent.