Sanders, Buttigieg campaigns request partial recanvass of Iowa caucus results

The two Democrats who led the Iowa caucuses — Senator Bernie Sanders and former mayor Pete Buttigieg — have both requested a recanvass of some caucus results, the Iowa Democratic Party says.

Process would check vote count against paper records to ensure it was correct

The campaigns of both Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, left, and Bernie Sanders, have requested a partial recanvass of the Iowa caucus results. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters, Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press)

The two Democrats who led the Iowa caucuses — Sen. Bernie Sanders and former mayor Pete Buttigieg — both requested a recanvass of some caucus results on Monday, the Iowa Democratic Party said.

Buttigieg filed a request for a recanvass of 66 precincts and Sanders for 28 precincts, the party said in a statement. It said it will review the requests to determine whether they meet the requirements.

Sanders's campaign cited "mathematical errors and inconsistencies" in more than two dozen locations that it says would change the results if amended.

On Sunday, the Iowa Democratic Party released updated caucus results that gave former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg a lead over Sanders of two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted, or 0.09 percentage points.

Iowa awards 41 national delegates in its caucuses. As it stands, Buttigieg has 13 and Sanders has 12. Trailing behind are Elizabeth Warren with eight, Joe Biden with six and Amy Klobuchar with one.

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The 41st and final delegate from Iowa will go to the overall winner. While the state party said Sunday that it belongs to Buttigieg, the caucus won't formally come to an end until Sanders' requested recanvass — and any potential recount to follow — is complete.

The Sanders campaign has outlined 25 precincts and three satellite caucuses where it believes correcting faulty math could swing the delegate allocation in Sanders' favour and deliver him, not Buttigieg, that final delegate.

Not a recount

The Associated Press reviewed updated results of the Iowa caucuses provided Sunday evening and decided that it remains unable to declare a winner based on the available information. The results, the AP continues to believe, may not be fully accurate and are still subject to potential revision.

The caucuses were roiled by significant issues in collecting and reporting data from individual precincts on caucus night. There were also errors in the complicated mathematical equations used to calculate the results in individual caucus sites that became evident as the party began to release caucus data throughout the week.

A recanvass is not a recount, but a check of the vote count against paper records to ensure the counts were reported accurately. Iowa Democratic Party volunteers have already undertaken this process with most of the precincts, and the party has told Iowa Democratic activists it will not correct any faulty math recorded by volunteers in each precinct because changing the paper documentation would amount to criminally tampering with a legal document.

A recount would require the party to check the results reported by volunteers in each individual caucus against cards used by each caucus-goer to record his or her picks.

In a statement, Sanders senior adviser Jeff Weaver said the campaign does not expect the recanvass to change the results of the caucuses, but he also suggested the campaign may ask for a full recount in the future.

"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," he said

With files from Reuters