Despite great anticipation heading into the Iowa caucuses on Monday night, the evening ended in a state of chaos with no clear victor and no official results to report.
With results cautiously expected to be announced later today, officials with the Iowa Democratic Party blamed “inconsistencies in the reporting” as their reason for not announcing a winner and said they were engaging in “quality control.”
“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 number we report,” the Iowa Democratic reportedly said in a statement.
“The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results,” the statement continues.
Additionally, Troy Price, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, was quick to emphasize that the delay was not the result of nefarious cyber activity, such as a hack or an intrusion.
Going into the night, 177 precinct captains were individually assigned to a caucus site, where they were responsible for reporting the evening’s results to the state party using either an app or by telephone.
However, when the app intended to relay results failed as did the back-up telephone line for reporting, officials were forced to verify results manually.
The app created by the private firm Shadow had reportedly raised security concerns among some cybersecurity observers wary of the fact that the app had not been vetted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before use during Monday night’s caucuses.
Without a clear winner as of yet, Democratic candidates have been quick to capitalize on the chance to declare themselves the evening’s victor in the midst of the chaos.
“We’re on our way to New Hampshire, on to the nomination, and on to chart a bold new course for our country,” Pete Buttigieg said.
Similarly, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar set her sights on New Hampshire vowing, “Somehow, someway I’m getting on a plane tonight to New Hampshire, and we are bringing this ticket to New Hampshire.”
Biden, Warren, and Yang were also reportedly on their way to New Hampshire where the first formal primary is scheduled to take place on February 11.
For their part, Republicans highlighted the dysfunction of the evening, with some citing the boondoggle as evidence of what Americans can expect were Democrats to attempt to impose Medicare-for-All on everyone.
“It’s is not the fault of Iowa, it is the Do Nothing Democrats fault,” President Trump tweeted.
President Trump was announced the winner of the Republican caucuses shortly after the evening began, winning in a landslide against former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, both of whom have launched anemic challenges to the president.
Both candidates earned approximately 1 percent of the vote compared to Trump’s 97 percent with 89 percent of the precincts reporting.
“The Democrat Party in Iowa really messed up, but the Republican Party did not. I had the largest re-election vote in the history of the great state, by far, beating President Obama’s previous record by a lot. Also, 97% Plus of the vote! Thank you Iowa!,” President Trump touted on Twitter.
As the first nominating contest in the 2020 election, the Iowa caucuses were seen by many Democratic candidates as a chance to prove themselves and their ability to rally voters across the nation.
For the Democratic Party hoping to take the White House in 2020, however, the chaos and dysfunction of last night could affect their prospects moving forward.
Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.