The squabble continues over who really won the party’s caucus.
Much of the national media spotlight has already moved onto other states, but the controversy surrounding Iowa’s Democratic Caucus is unlikely to fully resolve soon. On Monday, the top two finishers in the state requested a recanvass of votes.
Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg’s campaigns both called for an official recanvass of specific precincts in Iowa, extending their squabble over who really won the party’s caucus.
As things stand, Buttigieg earned 564 “state delegate equivalents,” or SDEs (26.2 percent) to Sanders’ 562 (26.1 percent). The IDP released updated results on Sunday, in which it estimated that Buttigieg would be allocated 14 national delegates at the national party’s summer convention, while Sanders would get 12, despite the fact that Sanders won the raw vote total in both caucus alignments.
In his letter to the IDP, Sanders said that nearly six SDEs may have been incorrectly allocated—a large enough error that could swing one national delegate from Buttigieg to Sanders, resulting in a tie.
“While a recanvass is just the first step in the process, and we don’t expect it to change the current calculations, it is a necessary part of making sure Iowans can trust the final results of the caucus,” Jeff Weaver, a senior Sanders advisor, said in a statement.
The Buttigieg campaign, which made its challenge in response to Sanders’ request, claimed that 14 SDEs were at stake in the precincts it flagged.
The requests for a recanvass come after a New York Times analysis found that more than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, missing data, or not possible under the arcane rules of the caucuses. CNN and NBC News also found dozens of errors in their own reviews of the results.
The New York Times also reported on Sunday that the IDP was only correcting discrepancies between the data as recorded on the worksheets and what was reported to the public. Conversely, the party has no intentions of correcting inaccurate calculations on caucus math worksheets, because according to the IDP’s lawyer, Shayla McCormally, such corrections would constitute altering a legal record, which is a crime. The only way to make these corrections, according to McCormally, is via a recount—an outcome that is now a distinct possibility.
The IDP now has 48 hours to review Sanders and Buttigieg’s recanvass requests and how the party responds could determine whether either camp requests a formal recount.