Saturday, February 6, 2016

Iowa Democratic Party Jiggered Precinct's Caucus on Election Night

At the Guardian UK, "Iowa Democratic party altered precinct's caucus results during chaotic night":
Shift of one delegate from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton raises questions about Iowa Democratic party’s management of first-in-the-nation vote.

In the Iowa Democratic party’s chaotic attempt to report caucus results on Monday night, the results in at least one precinct were unilaterally changed by the party as it attempted to deal with the culmination of a rushed and imperfect process overseeing the first-in-the-nation nominating contest.

In Grinnell Ward 1, the precinct where elite liberal arts college Grinnell College is located, 19 delegates were awarded to Bernie Sanders and seven were awarded to Hillary Clinton on caucus night. However, the Iowa Democratic party decided to shift one delegate from Sanders to Clinton on the night and did not notify precinct secretary J Pablo Silva that they had done so. Silva only discovered that this happened the next day, when checking the precinct results in other parts of the county.

The shift of one delegate at a county convention level would not have significantly affected the ultimate outcome of the caucus, but rather, it raises questions about the Iowa Democratic party’s management of caucus night.

The Iowa Democratic party had long been plagued with organizational issues around the caucus and failed to find hundreds of needed volunteers to oversee individual precinct caucuses just over a week before Monday. The result was a disorganized process that lent itself to chaos and conspiracy theories. Although Andy McGuire, the chair of the Iowa Democratic party, is a longtime Clinton supporter whose license plate once read HRC 2016, no one familiar with the issue has accused the error of being a partisan process. Instead, they have blamed simple mismanagement.

The party issued a statement early on Tuesday, detailing final delegate numbers that had Clinton winning the caucuses. However, the statement came shortly after party officials gave the impression to the Sanders campaign that no statement with results would be issued at all that night.

Instead, they were told “they would reconvene at 9am and let’s talk”. As of now, Clinton has a lead of just over two-tenths of a percent over Sanders in the overall apportionment of delegates in Iowa. This would equal an overall share of 23 delegates to the national convention for Clinton, to Sanders’ 21. The Iowa Democratic party has refused to audit the results.

The subject came up in Thursday night’s Democratic debate. Clinton expressed no opposition to the concept of an audit saying: “Whatever they decide to do, that’s fine.” Sanders was equally as relaxed. “Let’s not blow this out of proportion,” he said, adding,: “This is not the biggest deal in the world. We think, by the way, based on talking to our precinct captains, we may have at least two more delegates.”
Keep reading.

And see Jennifer Jacobs, at the Des Moines Register, "Iowa margin between Clinton, Sanders shifts as errors found."