• Democrats might again have to recanvass the votes in the error-marred Iowa caucus
  • The mutiplicity of errors is casting doubt on the veracity of poll numbers currently being released
  • Sanders and Buttigieg lead the race as of now

It now seems likely Iowa won't be this country's first contest in the 2024 presidential primary season. The current fiasco over the delayed vote count, ostensibly due to a failed app and a new system, has soured the Democratic Party on having Iowa launch its presidential primary season ever again.

The latest tallies from Iowa as of 10:00 a.m. CST Thursday with 97 percent of votes counted show Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, neck-and-neck in the total vote count for the round one alignment and statistically tied in state-delegate equivalents (SDEs).

In the race for SDEs, the most important metric, Buttigieg has 550 votes (26.22 percent) Sanders, 547 (26.07 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, 381 (18.16 percent), former vice president Joe Biden, 331 (15.78 percent) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, with 255 (12.15 percent).

All these numbers might have to be invalidated later on as the Democratic National Congress (DNC) on Thursday called for a complete recanvassing of the votes because of numerous inconsistencies, tallies that don't add up and other serious flaws that rendered the results suspect.

DNC Chair Tom Perez urged Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) officials to immediately recanvass Monday's caucus vote after days of doubt and growing concerns about "problems" found in the data.

"Enough is enough," said Perez in a tweet. "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."

Observers said that even after the initial fiasco with the vote count and reporting, the IDP continued to release false and error-ridden data. These mistakes continued to cast doubt on the authenticity of the results in what's now a very tight race. On Wednesday, the IDP was forced to correct data they released incorrectly showing some candidates winning votes and state delegate equivalents where they had not.

The New York Times validated many of these complaints in an in-depth report published Thursday that detailed the extent of the errors. Its analysis also found "more than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses."

More tellingly, the Times asserts vote tallies "do not add up" in some cases, while in others, precincts allotted the wrong number of delegates to certain candidates. "In at least a few cases, the Iowa Democratic Party’s reported results do not match those reported by the precincts," said the report.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg claimed victory in Iowa although results have not yet been released
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg claimed victory in Iowa although results have not yet been released GETTY IMAGES / WIN MCNAMEE

The Times admitted some of these inconsistencies don't indicate an intentional effort to compromise or rig the result. It also said there's no apparent bias in favor of Buttigieg or Sanders, the current leader, meaning the overall effect on the winner’s margin may be small.

The Times, however, did point out not all of the errors are minor. It noted that with Sanders closing to within 0.1 percentage points of Buttigieg in SDEs with 97 percent of 1,765 precincts reporting, "the race could easily grow close enough for even the most minor errors to delay a final projection or raise doubts about a declared winner."

The errors suggest many Iowa caucus leaders had a hard time following the rules of the caucuses. Caucus leaders also seemed to have a tough time adopting additional reporting requirements introduced since 2016. What all this indicates is the IDP, despite the long delays, failed to validate all the results fully before releasing them to the public.