The Iowa Caucus ended in uncertainty late Monday as the Iowa Democratic Party failed to report results, citing reporting inconsistencies and technical errors.
The main cause of the reporting failure is believed to be a malfunction of a mobile app designed to streamline the reporting of results. Caucus chairs were often unable to report results from their precincts using the app, and in some cases were not able to log in.
Several precincts attempted to call in the results, as previously practiced, following the app’s failure. However, they were met with severely backed up phone lines that further obstructed their reporting.
The Iowa Democratic Party has cited a coding error as the reason behind the app’s malfunction. Shadow Inc., the tech company responsible for the app, has since issued an apology for the debacle.
The failure in Iowa has caused the Nevada Democratic Party to abandon the app, as it was planned to be used in the Nevada Caucus later this month. Nevada Democrats will also be distancing themselves from the tech company Shadow Inc. in an attempt to avoid a repeat of app failure.
On Tues Feb. 4, at roughly 5 p.m. ET, only 62% of the results were released. They showed a tight race between South Bend Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, with 26.9 and 25.1% of the vote respectively. The next nearest competitor was Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who trailed by several percentage points.
As of 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, with 75% of results reported, the dynamic between the candidates has not shifted in any meaningful way. Mayor Buttigieg still narrowly leads, Senator Sanders closely follows, and Senator Warren trails further behind, now at 18.2%. It is unclear when the remaining 25% of results will be released.
One of the most astonishing revelations from the partial results is the relatively poor performance of former vice president Joe Biden. Prior to Monday’s caucuses, Biden was polling well at roughly 17%, trailing Buttigieg by only 1%, and Sanders by 8%. According to the most recent results, Biden received only 15.6%, now tailing Buttigieg by over 11%.
The race in Iowa is yet to be called, as the gap between Sanders and Buttigieg is too close, with much of the results still unreported.
Hours after polls closed on Monday, with results still not reported, several candidates appeared before their supporters to give impassioned speeches regardless. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont predicted he would “be doing very, very well.” Former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg stated: “we will be going on to New Hampshire victorious.”
The circumstances of the Iowa Caucus have caused further confusion regarding the state of the Democratic race. More than forty hours after caucuses closed, a projected winner is still not apparent. As the first contest of the 2020 election cycle, Iowa is key in establishing a tone for the presidential race. With no clear winner, the field remains ambiguous, and the competition in New Hampshire has gained more significance as a result.