Iowa Democratic Party approves Buttigieg’s and Sanders’ caucus recanvass requests


Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders are in a close race for victory in Iowa’s caucuses ahead of a recanvassing of results.

Mallory Tope

After the Iowa Democratic caucus results were delayed on caucus night, presidential campaigns began to question the accuracy of the results as they were slowly released by the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP).

With 100 percent of precinct caucuses reporting their results, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders are separated by 0.1 percent in the state delegate equivalents (SDE) used to determine victory.

Following errors in the results reporting process and inconsistencies in the numbers the IDP reported from precinct sites, the Sanders and Buttigieg campaign teams requested the IDP undertake a partial recanvassing of selected precincts across Iowa.

A recanvass would involve checking the math used to tabulate results from the affected precincts.

The Buttigieg campaign requested the recanvass of 57 precincts and all in-state satellite sites. The Sanders campaign requested the recanvass of 25 precincts and three satellite sites, according to the press release by the IDP. 

“The Iowa Democratic Party Caucus Recanvass/Recount Committee has received and considered your request for recanvass of 25 precinct and three satellite sites,” according to Troy Price, chair of the IDP, in a letter to a Sanders campaign representative. “The Committee is accepting your full request and will conduct a recanvass of those precincts. The Committee expects the recanvass will last two days and the current plan is to conduct the recanvass beginning Sunday, February 16, 2020.”

The Buttigieg campaign received a near identical letter from Price approving their full recanvass request.

The IDP is giving the campaigns 24 hours to accept and proceed with the request to recanvass, according to Price’s letter.

Under the supervision and direction of the “Recanvass/Recount Committee,” the recanvass will be managed by appointed recanvass administrators. The IDP is allowing up to two representatives from each presidential campaign to oversee the recanvass on site, which will not be open to the public or press, according to the IDP’s delegate selection plan.

“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,” said Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver in a statement Monday. “Our volunteers and supporters worked too hard and too many people participated for the first time to have the results depend on calculations that even the party admits are incorrect. Once the recanvass and a subsequent recount are completed in these precincts, we feel confident we will be awarded the extra national delegate our volunteers and grassroots donors earned.”