Iowa caucuses delay results due to ′quality checks′ | News | DW | 04.02.2020
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Iowa caucuses delay results due to 'quality checks'

Democrats in Iowa have been left on edge over which candidate will get an early boost in the battle to take on Donald Trump in November. The results are slow in coming in a crowded race that is too close to call.

The Iowa Democratic Party said Monday that results from the first selection process to choose who will run against US President Donald Trump in November elections had been delayed.

 Apparent technology issues in a new app had caused "inconsistencies" in reporting results, the party said in a statement.

State party chairman Troy Price told reporters that votes were now being counted by hand and would be released "later on Tuesday."

The Republican Party also held caucuses in the Midwest state, but Trump had no serious competition. The incumbent president was quickly confirmed the party's winner.

Read more: Opinion: Only losers at the Caucus in Iowa

The latest:

  • Democratic organizers announced around 9:50 p.m. local time that results would be delayed due to "quality checks."
  • The breakdown was reportedly related to a new app used to count votes.
  • Polls suggest Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has a narrow lead.
  • Other leading candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend, Indiana ex-Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, could also fare well.
  • Billionaire businessman and New York City ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, another Democratic candidate, did not take part in the early voting states.
  • Organizers readied for a record turnout, with more than 200,000 people expected to participate.

How do the caucuses work?

A total of 11 candidates are currently vying to lead the Democratic ticket.

More than 1,600 caucus sites will declare support for their preferred presidential choices. 

For registered voters who participate, caucuses demand more effort than ballot-based primaries, where people mark a ballot paper for their preferred candidate. In the case of Iowa, those supporting a particular candidate must spend an hour or more standing up, in both a metaphorical and literal sense, for the candidate they are backing.

Two rounds of selection occur, in which a candidate needs to receive a minimum 15% threshold of support per precinct in order to secure any delegates, who then "vote" for the candidate at the Democratic National Convention in July, when the final nominee is chosen after all primaries have ended.

DW's Kyra Levine, who was at a caucus in Iowa's capital, Des Moines, tweeted a photo of the "presidential preference card" that registered Democratic participants in Iowa used to declare their candidate choice. The cards were used at the end of the caucus as a written confirmation of the in-person count of participants supporting each candidate.  

The caucuses are also a moment to appoint delegates to county conventions and party committees, among other party activities.

Elizabeth Warren

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren visits a caucus in Des Moines, Iowa

Why are they important?

The caucuses are noteworthy as the first major contest of the United States presidential primary season.

The result of the caucuses will influence the Democratic nomination by helping to whittle down a congested field. A poor showing in Iowa usually spells the decline or outright end of a campaign before other states even hold their primaries.

In recent years, the candidate with the highest level of support in Iowa has also ended up becoming the Democratic nominee.

Because political momentum solidifies behind the candidates who place top in the caucuses, the event will provide a clear indication of the favorites to lead the party in the hope of defeating Trump.

What happens next in the presidential primary race?

Iowa is the first of more than 50 contests set to take place in the coming months. The northeast state of New Hampshire is next up, with a primary set for just eight days after Iowa.

The key date for the diary is March 3, or "Super Tuesday." It is when the largest number of states hold primary elections and caucuses.

On that day Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Democrats Abroad, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia will all hold their presidential primaries.

Supporters of Pete Buttigieg

Supporters of Pete Buttigieg gather at Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa

jsi/rt (dpa, AP, Reuters)

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