Friday, February 7, 2020

Bernie Won Iowa

Bernie won Iowa. IDP released the latest caucus results late Thursday, representing 99.9% of Iowa Democratic caucus precincts. Sanders beat Buttigieg in the first and final alignments of popular vote, 6,114 votes and 2,631 votes respectively, according to the Des Moines Register. The New York Times published its prediction giving Sanders a 54% probability of also winning the Delegate Equivalent count once IDP corrects all the inconsistent tabulations across 100 precincts the paper flagged in its analysis.

Currently, Sanders trails Buttigieg by a count of just 2 Delegate Equivalents - the count of delegates allocated to attend the Iowa Democratic State Convention later this year. The number of state delegate equivalents is calculated based on turnout in recent elections. So, if a precinct has higher turnout in the caucus relative to the turnout of recent elections, a candidate will get less state delegate equivalents per caucusgoer than in a precinct with relatively low caucus turnout. In Iowa, for Democrats, the effect underweights college towns and cities areas in delegate equivalent allocation counts.

The important delegate counts, however, are delegates allocated for the Democratic National Convention: Pete Buttigieg earns 13 national convention delegates to Bernie Sanders’ 12. Elizabeth Warren gets 8 delegates; Joe Biden, 6, and Amy Klobuchar, 1.

1764 of 1765 precincts reporting (99.9%)
Candidates First
Count % Count % Count %
Bernie Sanders 43,671 24.8% 45,826 26.6% 562 26.1%
Pete Buttigieg 37,557 21.3% 43,195 25.0% 564 26.2%
Elizabeth Warren 32,533 18.4% 34,771 20.2% 387 18.0%
Joe Biden 26,384 15.0% 23,691 13.7% 341 15.8%
Amy Klobuchar 22,469 12.7% 21,181 12.3% 264 12.3%
Andrew Yang 8,821 5.0% 1,780 1.0% 22 1.0%
Tom Steyer 3,083 1.7% 413 0.2% 7 0.3%
Tulsi Gabbard 334 0.2% 17 0.0% 0 0.0%
Michael Bloomberg 217 0.1% 20 0.0% 0 0.0%
Michael Bennet 164 0.1% 4 0.0% 0 0.0%
Deval Patrick 50 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
John Delaney 10 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Other 159 0.1% 205 0.1% 1 0.0%
Uncommitted 984 0.6% 1,418 0.8% 4 0.2%

The results released by the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) are riddled with inconsistencies and other flaws. According to a New York Times analysis, more than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses.
“In some cases, vote tallies do not add up. In others, precincts are shown allotting the wrong number of delegates to certain candidates. And in at least a few cases, the Iowa Democratic Party’s reported results do not match those reported by the precincts.

Some of these inconsistencies may prove to be innocuous, and they do not indicate an intentional effort to compromise or rig the result. There is no apparent bias in favor of the leaders Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders, meaning the overall effect on the winner’s margin may be small.

But not all of the errors are minor, and they raise questions about whether the public will ever get a completely precise account of the Iowa results. With Mr. Sanders closing to within 0.1 percentage points with 97 percent of 1,765 precincts reporting, the race could easily grow close enough for even the most minor errors to delay a final projection or raise doubts about a declared winner.”
It is not clear whether IDP will actually correct the inconsistencies in Equivalent Delegate count calculations flagged by the New York Times. Just about every election night includes reporting errors. They can be difficult to identify, but can often be corrected during a recount or a post election canvass. This year’s Iowa caucuses errors are now easy to identify because of changes to the way the Iowa Democratic Party reports its results, put in place after the Sanders campaign criticized the caucus results in 2016, but those errors are hard to correct under IDP’s rules.
Among the errors flagged by the New York Times are inconsistencies between the first and final alignment counts, as defined by IDP caucus rules. First, caucusgoers express their preference for a candidate upon arrival, and these votes are recorded in a “first alignment.” Then, candidates with limited support at a precinct, usually less than 15 percent, are deemed not viable; their supporters get a chance to realign to support a viable candidate. The preference at this point is recorded as well, and it’s called the final alignment.

Viable candidates can’t lose support on realignment, but there were more than 10 cases where a viable candidate lost vote share in the final alignment, even though that is precluded by the caucus rules. Also, no new voters are permitted to join the caucus after the first alignment. But in at least 70 precincts, more than 4 percent of the total, there are more tabulated total votes on final alignment than on first alignment.

At the next step in the process, each precinct allots county delegates based on final preference, and these county delegates are reported to the news media as “state delegate equivalents,” which approximate the number of delegates won at the state convention. Each precinct caucus gets a set number, but a handful of precincts allotted more state delegate equivalents than they had available.

Notably, there are dozens of precincts where there is a discrepancy between the final preference vote and the number of state delegate equivalents allotted. This includes more than 15 cases in which a candidate received fewer state delegate equivalents than another despite receiving more votes in the final alignment.

In multiple precincts, the candidate who received the most votes did not receive the most state delegate equivalents. In one example, Iowa Democratic Party released a wave of results showing Deval Patrick sweeping central Des Moines. That was incorrect. Mr. Sanders’s votes had been reported as being for Mr. Patrick, while Elizabeth Warren’s tallies went to Tom Steyer. Even with 99.9% of precincts no reported, it appears delegates that should have gone to Sanders are recorded for other candidates. 
Mandy McClure, a spokeswoman for the IDP, maintains in comments to the news media that the IDP reported the data as provided to it by the precinct caucuses.
“The caucus math work sheet is the official report on caucus night to the I.D.P., and the I.D.P. reports the results as delivered by the precinct chair,” she said. “This form must be signed by the caucus chair, the caucus secretary and representatives from each campaign in the room who attest to its accuracy. Under the rules of the delegate selection process, delegates are awarded based off the record of results as provided by each precinct caucus chair.”
The errors reported by the New York Times suggest many Iowa caucus leaders struggled to follow the rules of their party’s caucuses, or to adopt the additional reporting requirements introduced since 2016. They show that the Iowa Democratic Party, despite the long delays, failed to validate all of the results fully before releasing them to the public.

After the New York Times published its projection that Sanders would win Iowa, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called on Iowa Democratic officials to immediately recanvass Iowa caucus results by reprinting all the caucus receipts from every precinct and recounting again.

Perez tweeted about his demand for the Iowa Democratic Party following days of chaos over a third-party caucus app failing to properly submit results. Carrying out a recanvass, he said, is essential to “assure public confidence in the results.”
“Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”
Asked about Perez's call for a recanvass during a press conference in New Hampshire Thursday, Sanders emphasized that he won the popular vote in the Iowa caucus and said "that is not going to be changed."

Update — February 10, 2020 @ 8:49 AM CST

The Iowa Democratic Party released more results over the weekend—but since the party will not be correcting obvious errors on some precinct results, the outcome of the caucuses remains very much in question.

According to the Iowa Democrats, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg retained his razor-thin lead in state delegate equivalents, giving him 14 national delegates to 12 for Sen. Bernie Sanders (who led the popular vote), eight for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, six for former Vice President Joe Biden, and one for Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But Sanders’ campaign is requesting a partial recanvass, and the Associated Press—a leader in election results and race calls—is continuing to refrain from declaring a winner.

The New York Times reports that though the inconsistencies in results from precincts the paper flag in its analysis last week remain problematic, the Iowa Democratic Party will not correct errors on the “caucus math worksheets,” official documents used by volunteer precinct leaders. According to an internal email from a lawyer for the party, “The incorrect math on the Caucus Math Worksheets must not be changed to ensure the integrity of the process.” That’s true even in cases in which there are obvious miscalculations, virtually ensuring that controversy over the results will continue. The caucus math worksheet “is the legal voting record of the caucus, like a ballot,” the lawyer wrote.

And apparently correcting incorrect math would introduce “personal opinion” into the process: “Any judgment of math miscalculations would insert personal opinion into the process by individuals not at the caucus and could change the agreed upon results. That action would be interfering with the caucus’ expression of their preferences. There are various reasons that the worksheets have errors and may appear to not be accurate, however changing the math would change the information agreed upon and certified by the caucusgoers.”

The official records of the caucuses clearly have errors in the reported numbers and formula calculations of the equivalent delegate numbers. The IDP maintains that if someone added numbers incorrectly in a way that shows up on said official record, it’s a personal opinion to say that 2+2=4 . But, then, if all the math errors were corrected, Bernie Sanders would have to be declared the winner.

1 comment:

  1. As confusing as the Iowa Caucus is, you did a great job explaining it. Thank you.