Why Iowa’s Democratic Caucus is Taking Long to Produce 100% Voting Results

Results of the Iowa Democratic caucus keep trickling nearly 2 days after the conventions were held. As of this writing 71%, representing 1,250 of 1,765 precincts that have sent in results, have placed Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the lead at 26.8%. Senator Bernie Sanders is not far behind, lagging by only 1.6%.

The smartphone app that could have speeded up the results-counting process did not help at all. Apparently, there was some sort of glitch, which app developer Shadow Inc. discovered only on Caucus Day.

Actually, Mayor Buttigieg’s lead is representative of the number of state delegates who voted for his nomination, and not the raw votes or the number of people who voted for a preferred Democratic presidential candidate for 2020.

It’s all a bit confusing actually, since the caucus method of selecting the presidential candidate is different from the primary election approach. Iowa is one of few states that still select a presidential nominee by way of caucus voting.

The Basics of the Caucus Method of Nominating a Presidential Candidate of a Party

As it is, the Democratic Party has about 12 candidates aspiring for nomination as presidential candidate to run against Republican Party candidate Donald Trump.

The caucus method though is a bit confusing, because unlike in the primary election system adopted by other U.S. states, registered voters do not cast votes directly for their preferred presidential candidate.

At an appointed date, time, and place, any registered voter of a specific party can attend the convention or meeting to vote for a delegate .The delegates in turn represent voters in nominating the presidential candidate during the Caucus Convention. Here there will be two rounds of voting for the nomination.

In the first round the chosen delegates cast votes for the presidential candidate they support as nominee. The weakest presidential candidate or those who garnered numbers of votes that are less than the threshold, will be eliminated as choices in the second or final round of voting.

However, during the second-round voting, the delegates who supported the weak candidates will still participate by voting for a second-choice presidential candidate of the registered voters they represent. Prior to the final round, delegates will discuss and debate as a way of trying to win over the support of delegates voting for a second choice.

In understanding the caucus method of voting, we get a better picture of why it takes long before Iowa Democrats could produce a 100% report of the state’s voting results. Inasmuch as there is still 29% remaining, and only a 1.6% difference between Mayor Buttigieg and Senator Sanders, the final result of the Iowa caucus is still not final unless all precincts have sent in the results of their caucus-voting.