Iowa is the first state to vote in the primaries. In many other states, people vote by going to their polling station, marking their ballot, and handing it in. Iowa has a caucus. (1) One of the things I find interesting about caucuses is that there is plenty of room for unexpected things to happen.
The 2020 Iowa Caucuses happened on February 3.
The Iowa Democratic Party added additional caucuses this year to accommodate Iowans who were shift workers, residents at nursing homes, students, and Iowans living abroad (or in vacation homes).
Nineteen Iowans participated in a satellite caucus in Glasgow, Scotland. They arrived with differing political views, and walked away feeling like they had made friends. Iowa Starting Line posted a tweet with a screenshot of text that included additional information:
Yang and Klobuchar were not viable, and after the second alignment in Glasgow, Warren gained two votes and one of the Yang supporters chose not to realign. The final alignment ended with Sanders having nine votes, Warren with six and Buttigieg with three…
Another satellite caucus was held in Tbilisi, Georgia. It was hosted by Joshua Kucera, a freelance journalist living in Georgia, who is from Des Moines, Iowa. On January 28, 2020, he stated that only 2 other Iowa expats had signed up for the caucus.
On February 3, 2020, Joshua Kucera tweeted “The Tbilisi caucus was conducted successfully, over a traditional Iowan meal of pizza and ranch dressing – accompanied by Georgian wine. The results will be reported along with the rest of the results after the caucuses in Iowa take place.” The tweet included a photo of a pizza with a small container of ranch sitting next to it, a bottle of wine on the table nearby, and a small Iowa flag.
In Paris, France, seventeen Iowans attended a town hall near the Louvre for a caucus. CNN reported: Many were young. Several were first-time voters. At least four were former Republicans, taking part in a Democratic caucus for the very first time.
Around thirty-two Iowans attended a caucus in St. Paul, Minnesota. Greta Kaul, a data reporter for Minnesota Post tweeted: “The final result at St. Paul satellite Iowa caucus #CaucusDay” The tweet included a photo of the hand written results after post-realignment. Warren got 14 votes and 2 delegates. Sanders got 11 votes and 2 delegates. Yang got 7 votes and 1 delegate.
Los Angeles Times reported on the Iowa Caucus in Palm Springs, California. 108 Iowans attended. Palm Springs is a desert resort town. The results of the Palm Springs caucus were: Amy Klobuchar 49 votes; Joe Biden 29 votes; Pete Buttigieg 21 votes.
Tampa Bay Times reported on the Iowa Caucus in St. Petersburg, Florida. 106 Democratic voters, who were mostly senior citizens and snowbirds, attended. By the end of the night, Klobuchar had 4 local delegates, Buttigieg and Warren each had 2 delegates, and Biden had 1 delegate.
Voting Rights reporter for The Guardian Sam Levine reported that eighteen Iowans made history as the first people to participate in a caucus hosted entirely in American Sign Language. It was in Des Moines, Iowa. The first round of voting resulted in three viable candidates: Warren, Biden, and Buttigieg. In the second vote, Warren earned 2 delegates; Biden earned 1, and Buttigieg earned 1.
Sam Levine put together a thread of tweets with videos from that caucus.
Senior political reporter for The Guardian Lauren Gambino tweeted: “At out caucus site, the chair asked for the undecideds to raise their hand. It was just Loretta Bergez. Everyone pounced.” The tweet includes two photos of a woman in a leopard print top who was quickly surrounded by supporters of various candidates.
Lauren Gambino follows up with another tweet: “UPDATE: She went for Bernie Sanders. “I voted for him last time around, but I really like Warren.” She adds: “anybody is better than Trump.” The tweet includes a photo of Loretta Bergez smiling, and sitting with a group of caucus attendees.
Lauren Gambino was reporting from the Ankeny-12 caucus. She tweeted : that the first alignment results were Buttigieg 148, Sanders 107, and Warren 91. The results of the second alignment were Buttigieg 194, Sanders 120, Warren 111, and Biden 80.
Senior Washington Correspondent for CNN Jeff Zelensy posted a tweet: “Party unity? The non-viable candidates in DSM 35 have joined forces to form a new group to support Cory Booker. They declined to join Buttigieg, Warren or Sanders”. The tweet included a photo of group of people standing together in one of the corners of the caucus.
Cory Booker announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign on January 13, 2020.
Iowa Starting Line tweeted: “At one Des Moines Precinct tonight, an attendee brought a concealed bottle of wine, dropped it, and it shattered everywhere.” The tweet includes a photo of a school gymnasium where caucus attendees had gathered. A few of them are starring at a shattered bottle that once held red wine and is now on the floor. It is unclear which one of the attendees dropped the wine bottle.
Problems with Technology
This year, the Iowa Democratic Party decided that caucus workers should put an app on their personal phones and use that to report the results of the caucus. Things did not go well.
On January 26, 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported that party leaders said the mobile app would make it easier an faster to report results for approximately 1,700 caucus sites. If there were errors due to the app, the party would be able to correct them because caucus workers would also keep paper records of the votes.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Democratic Party declined to disclose the vendor that made the app. The seems that the party was concerned that doing so could inadvertently help potential cyber attackers who wanted to mess around with the app.
The Verge reported that workers in several precincts in Iowa were having trouble reporting results through the app. They were unable download or log into the app. The workers had to call in their results, which delayed the reporting of results and “jammed phone lines”.
Political Reporter for ABC covering 2020 Johnny Verhovek tweeted a statement from the Iowa Democratic Party. The tweet also included a screenshot of the statement.
“We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results. In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report. This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.” – IDP Communications Director Mandy McClure
National political reporter for BuzzFeed News Henry J. Gomez tweeted“NEW: Biden camp NOT happy about Iowa reporting problems. Just issued this letter.” The tweet included a screenshot of a letter from the Biden for President campaign. It said:
Mr. Price and Mr. Geiken:
I write on behalf of the Biden for President Campaign regarding the considerable flaws in tonight’s Iowa Caucus reporting system. The app that was intended to relay Caucus results to the Party failed; the Party’s back-up telephonic reporting system likewise has failed. Now, we understand that the Caucus Chairs are attempting to – and, in many cases, failing to – report results telephonically to the Party. These acute failures are occurring statewide.
We appreciate that you plan to brief the campaigns momentarily on these issues, and we plan to participate. However, we believe that the campaigns deserve full explanations and relevant information regarding the methods of quality control you are employing, and an opportunity to respond, before any official results are released. We look forward to hearing from you promptly.
In the meantime, we are on to New Hampshire, on the road to the most important election of our lifetimes.
By the end of the night, many (if not all) of the candidates left Iowa and headed to New Hampshire. The results of the Iowa caucuses were not released that night. It is unclear when we will see the results.
UPDATE: The Guardian reported on February 5, 2020, the results of the 2020 Iowa Caucus (with 70.82% of precincts reporting). Their election results source was the Associated Press.
- Pete Buttigieg – 419 votes – 26.82%
- Bernie Sanders – 395 votes – 25.22%
- Elizabeth Warren – 287 votes – 18.37%
- Joe Biden – 241 votes – 15.43%
- Amy Klobuchar – 197 votes – 12.61%
- Andrew Yang – 16 votes – 1.02%
- Tom Steyer – 5 votes – 0.32%
It is possible that this could change after the rest of the precincts votes are counted. I will update this blog post if and when all the votes have been counted.
UPDATE: Later on February 5, 2020, The Guardian reported an update on the results of the Iowa Caucus. This time, 74.79% of the precincts had reported. The numbers changed a little bit, but the order of candidates from most – to least – votes did not change.
- Pete Buttigieg – 442 votes – 26.90%
- Bernie Sanders – 414 votes – 25.20%
- Elizabeth Warren – 229 votes – 18.20%
- Joe Biden – 257 votes – 15.64%
- Amy Klobuchar – 206 votes – 12.54%
- Andrew Yang – 17 votes – 1.03%
- Tom Steyer – 5 votes – 0.30 %
Several hours later, on February 5, 2020, The Guardian reported another update on the results of the Iowa Caucus. This time, 95.52% of precincts had reported. Once again, the numbers changed a little bit, but not significantly.
- Pete Buttigeig – 594 votes – 26.43%
- Bernie Sanders – 533 votes – 25.66%
- Elizabeth Warren – 380 votes – 18.30%
- Joe Biden – 328 votes – 15.79%
- Amy Klobuchar – 254 votes – 12.23%
- Andrew Yang – 21 votes – 1.01%
- Tom Steyer – 7 votes – 0.34%
UPDATE: Much later on February 5, 2020, The Guardian reported the results of the Iowa Caucus after 96.94% of precincts had reported. The most significant change, in my opinion, is that the totals for Buttigieg and Sanders had gotten closer than what was previously reported.
- Pete Buttigeig – 550 votes – 26.22%
- Bernie Sanders – 547 votes – 26.07%
- Elizabeth Warren – 381 votes – 18.16%
- Joe Biden – 331 votes – 15.78%
- Amy Klobuchar – 225 votes – 12.15%
- Andrew Yang – 22 votes – 1.05%
- Tom Steyer – 7 votes – 0.33%
There were also 4 votes for “uncommitted”, and 1 vote for “other”.
FINAL UPDATE: The Guardian posted the results of the Iowa Democratic Caucus with 100% of precincts reporting (on February 9, 2020).
- Pete Buttigieg – 564 – 26.21%
- Bernie Sanders – 562 – 25.12%
- Elizabeth Warren – 388 – 18.03%
- Joe Biden – 350 – 15.80%
- Amy Klobuchar – 265 – 12.27%
- Andrew Yang – 22 – 1.02%
- Tom Steyer – 7 – 0.33%
UPDATE: On February 6, 2020, the Iowa Democratic Party released its final results of the 2020 Iowa Caucuses. For whatever reason, they listed the candidates in alphabetical order on their website, instead of in order of how many votes they got. They also failed to list the number of delegates each candidate earned.
- Pete Buttigeig – 564.012
- Bernie Sanders – 562.497
- Elizabeth Warren – 387.069
- Joe Biden – 341.172
- Amy Klobuchar – 264.204
- Andrew Yang – 22.223
- Tom Steyer – 6.739
- Uncommitted – 3.957
- Other – 0.693
- Mike Bloomberg – 0.21
- Tulsi Gabbard – 0.21
UPDATE: The Iowa Democratic Party posted the number of delegates each candidate earned. They listed the candidates in alphabetical order by last name. I am going to list the candidates here from the most to least delegates. I am also updating the total number of votes each candidate got.
- Pete Buttigeig – 564,302 – 14 delegates
- Bernie Sanders – 561.528 – 12 delegates
- Elizabeth Warren – 388.48 – 8 delegates
- Joe Biden – 339.678 – 6 delegates
- Amy Klobuchar – 263.883 – 1 delegate
- Andrew Yang – 21.856 – 0 delegates
- Tom Steyer – 6.619 – 0 delegates
- Uncommitted – 3.732 – 0 delegates
- Amy Klobuchar – 263.883 – 0 delegates
- Other – 0.693 – 0 delegates
- Mike Bloomberg – 0.21 – 0 delegates
- Tulsi Gabbard – 0.114 – 0 delegates
For those who are interested, The Guardian posted the results of the Iowa Republican caucuses, with 100% of precincts reporting.
- Donald Trump – 31,464 votes – 97.14%
- Bill Weld – 426 votes – 1.32%
- Joe Walsh – 348 votes – 1.07%
- Other – 151 votes – 0.47%
Ballotpedia reported the number of delegates each Republican candidate earned:
- Donald Trump – 39 delegates
- Bill Weld – 1 delegate
- Joe Walsh – 0 delegates
On February 10, 2020: The Hill posted an article titled: “Buttigeig joins Sanders in requesting partial recanvass of Iowa caucuses”. It was written by Max Greenwood. From the article:
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has requested a partial recanvass of the results of last week’s first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses after totals released by the state Democratic Party showed the former South Bend, Ind., mayor with a narrow lead in the delegate count.
The Iowa Democratic Party said on Monday that it has received two recanvass requests, one from Buttigieg’s campaign and another from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has also claimed victory in the state based on his 2,500-vote lead in the state’s popular vote.
Buttieg’s campaign has requested that results from 66 precincts be recanvassed amid reports of errors and inconsistencies in the caucus tabulations. Sanders, meanwhile, asked the state Democratic Party to reexamine the results from 28 precincts…
February 6, 2020: Tom Perez, Chair of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted: “Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”
Tom Perez also tweeted: “A recanvass is a review of the worksheets from each caucus site to ensure accuracy. The IDP will continue to report results.”
February 12, 2020: Troy Price, Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party resigned. He posted a thread of tweets about it:
Troy Price tweeted: “To all the @iowademocrats out there – I want you to know that serving as chair of this party has been the greatest honor of my life. I have traveled more than 100k miles across this state over the last two years, and everywhere I went I saw the amazing spirit of our party.”
Troy Price tweeted: “I saw it in the activists who didn’t stop after the 2016 elections. I saw it in the tenacity of all of our candidates to fight for their fellow Iowans. I saw it in the party leaders who stood up to get more people in our party.”
Troy Price tweeted: “In spite of the reporting errors that happened on Monday, our party remains strong. Our county parties are strong. Our activists are fired up. Our candidates are ready to win. And I know that @iowademocrats will win up and down the ticket in November.”
Troy Price tweeted: “While I may no longer be serving as chair, I want you to know how thankful I am to all of our great Democrats who continue to fight to make our country better. And know – I will be right there in the trenches with you.”
February 12, 2020: Kate Payne, reporter and #CaucusLand co-host for Iowa Public Radio posted a series of tweets about the resignation letter Tom Price sent to the Iowa Democratic Party. One of those tweets includes screenshots of the entire letter.
Dear Members of the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee,
Serving as Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party has been one of the greatest honors of my life.
When I took over this party, we were still reeling from a bruising 2016 election cycle. Many people locally and across the country believed that Democrats in Iowa were dead, and that we would never see victories again.
Over the course of 2017 and 2018, I was so proud to work with the members of our state central committee, our county chairs, activists, and volunteers to build real momentum across the state. In the end, we proved the naysayers wrong by flipping seven seats in the Iowa House, winning three statewide seats, and winning three of four of our congressional seats – sending the first women from Iowa to the House in the process.
While we could have rested on our laurels, we got back to work. Over the last 15 months, Democrats across the state came together to build out our 2020 caucuses. Our amazing staff fanned out across the state to build infrastructure in all 99 counties – even in places where local parties have gone dormant or didn’t exist at all. We worked to implement sweeping changes to our process that increased accessibility and participation for Iowans across the state and the globe.
By all accounts, the precinct and satellite caucus meetings themselves went well. Over the last week, we have received positive feedback on these meetings – how smoothly they ran, how the new procedures helped make the night move more quickly and efficiently, and how more Democrats of all backgrounds came together united in the goal of defeating Donald Trump and electing new leadership for our country.
However, there is no doubt that the process of reporting results did not work. It was simply unacceptable. It is why I called for an independent review of the decisions and processes that lead to this failure. While this process is just beginning, know that the IDP is not the only party to blame for what happened this week. We worked collaboratively with our partners, our vendors, and the DNC in this process, and I am confident that review will be able to determine exactly what went wrong, what went right, and how we can avoid this from ever happening again.
In the days following the caucus, our staff worked under immense pressure to produce a complete report of results from the caucuses and was able to do so in 72 hours. Enduring threats to personal safety, taunts, and anger from people around the globe, our staff worked in a professional manner to produce a final result. I am incredibly proud of the work they did in those three days. These are people who are working hard towards our common goal of electing Democrats in November, and I deeply regret that these dedicated employees of our party had to endure such abuse.
The fact is that Democrats deserved better than what happened on caucus night. As chair of this party, I am deeply sorry for what happened and bear the responsibility for any failures on behalf of the Iowa Democratic Party.
While it is my desire to stay in this role and see this process through to completion, I do believe it is time for the Iowa Democratic Party to begin looking forward, and my presence in my current role makes that more difficult.
Therefore, I will resign as chair of the Democratic Party effective upon the election of my replacement.
I will be calling for an emergency meeting of the State Central Committee on Saturday at 1pm to elect an interim chair. Whomever is elected will oversee the completion of the recanvass and recount process and begin the process of healing our party.
Our paramount goal must remain to elect Democrats at all levels of office that will bring the voice of the people to our government.
In spite of the challenges these last few days, I leave knowing that the party is in a strong position to move forward. Thousands of Democrats joined our party through our caucus process. The Iowa Democratic Party currently has more money than ever before at this point in an election cycle. The infrastructure built through these last few months will allow us to build an organization that will turn Iowa Blue in November. And Iowa still has the best elected officials, candidates, volunteers, and activists of anywhere in the country.
Leadership requires tough decisions, and this one is one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. Throughout my tenure as chair, I have always said I would do what is in the best interest of the party, with my decision, I hope the party can regain the trust of those we lost and turn our attention to what is most important – winning in November.
The letter was signed by Troy Price.
February 13, 2020: Yahoo News posted an article titled: “Documents reveal DNC was ‘intimately involved’ in development of troubled Iowa caucus app.” It was written by Hunter Walker. From the article:
While the Democratic National Committee over the past 10 days has tried to distance itself from the troubled app that threw the results of the Iowa caucus into disarray, a copy of the contract and internal correspondence provided to Yahoo News by demonstrates that national party officials had extensive oversight over the development of the technology.
The Democrats’ Iowa caucuses took place on February 3, but the outcome is still in question following a series of issues related to the failure of an app that was supposed to be used to submit results. In the days since the debacle, the DNC Chair Tom Perez has criticized the Iowa Democratic Party, which ran the caucuses, and the developer of the app, Shadow Inc.
“Consultant agrees to work with the DNC Services Corporation / Democratic National Committee (‘DNC’) on an on-going basis as Consultant develops the software,” the contract reads.
The contract also specifies that Shadow agrees to “provide DNC continual access to review the Consultant’s system configurations, security and system logs, system designs, data flow designs, security controls (preventative and detective) and operational plans for how the Consultant will use and run the Software for informational dissemination, pre-registration, tabulation, and reporting throughout the caucus process.”
An email provided to Yahoo News also appears to show that Seema Nanda, the CEO of the DNC, and Kate Atwater, the national party’s deputy chief technology officer, were involved in drafting the contract and requested to the addition of the provision that gave them access to Shadow and the app. In the email, dated July 30, 2019, Atwater provided an IDP official with draft text for the provision detailing the DNC’s access to the app. Atwater, in the email, said the provision was specifically requested by Nanda….
…DNC Communications director Xochitl Hinojosa responded to questions about the contract language and Atwater’ email by saying the party wanted access to the app only to address potential security concerns…
…The Iowa Democratic Party was introduced to Shadow through the state party in Nevada, which also planned to use an app made by the company fop its caucuses, according to the same source.
In the wake of the Iowa fiasco, the Nevada Democratic Party announced it would not use Shadow’s app for it’s caucuses, which are set for Feb. 22…
You can find the DNC Email to IDP”: Re Shadow Inc. on Scribd.
February 27, 2020: The Iowa Democratic Party posted a press release titled: “IDP Announces Results of Limited-Scope Precinct Caucus Recount”. From the press release:
Today, the Iowa Democratic Party announced the results of the limited-scope recount requests from the Buttigieg and Sanders campaigns. The results from the recounted precincts can be found here. The recount process resulted in no change to National Delegate allocation.
Over a two-day period beginning Tuesday, February 25, recount administrators recounted the Presidential Preference Cards from 23 unique precincts – including 14 submissions from the Buttigeig campaign and 10 submissions from the Sanders campaign, with one overlapping. As a result of the recount, county level delegate allocation changed in 19 precincts.
As part of the 2020 Caucus changes, Presidential Preference Cards serve as a paper trail of attendance to be used as the exclusive record in the event of a recount. For each precinct, administrators counted the numbered cards to determine overall attendance and viability. Administrators then sorted the two-sided cards reflecting caucusgoers’ first and second preferences to recreate the movement in the room.
To be eligible for a recount, a campaign needed to provide evidence suggesting that caucus errors would change the allocation of one or more National Delegates. Members of the Recanvass/Recount Committee, Recount Administrators, staff appointed by the Administrators to assist, IDP legal counsel, and representatives of the Buttigeig and Sanders campaigns were on site to oversee the precinct recount.
Here are the final Iowa Caucus 2020 Delegate Results:
- Pete Buttigeig: 562.954 SDE – 14 national delegates
- Bernie Sanders: 562.021 SDE – 12 national delegates
- Elizabeth Warren: 388.44 SDE – 8 national delegates
- Joe Biden: 340.324 SDE – 6 national delegates
- Amy Klobuchar: 263.869 SDE – 1 national delegate
- None of the other candidates received any national delegates
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