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Iowa Democratic Party Asserts Private Right Not to Disclose Vote Counts

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Created: 04 February, 2016
Updated: 16 October, 2022
2 min read

The Des Moines Register is calling for an audit of the Democratic caucus results after several reports of precincts being decided by coin flips and missing caucus-goers. The newspaper wants the Iowa Democratic Party to swiftly act to ensure that the results are accurate.

"What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy," the Register's editorial board writes.

"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."

However, such an audit is unlikely to come. The Sanders campaign has done its own investigation, rechecking the results precinct by precinct. According to the campaign, it has found some irregularities, but the Iowa Democratic Party won't allow the campaign to compare the math sheets and other paper work filed by precinct chairs.

"The answer is that we had all three camps in the tabulation room last night to address any grievances brought forward, and we went over any discrepancies. These are the final results," Dr. Andy McGuire, chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, said in an interview for the Register.

The party has never released head counts, and it won't this time as Democratic leaders claim a private right to keep that information from the public. McGuire said that the winner of the Iowa caucus is determined by state-delegate equivalent, rather than the final head count for each candidate.

In other words, garnering the most votes in the Iowa caucus may not guarantee a candidate a win. There are no paper ballots and precinct results can apparently come down to coin tosses, in accordance with party rules, to determine the allocation of local delegates.

Read the full DMR editorial, Something Smells in the Democratic Party.

Photo Source: CNN

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