Sanders to seek partial recanvass of Iowa caucus results

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., takes a photograph with a member of the audience after speaking at a campaign stop at Stevens High School, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Claremont, N.H. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., takes a photograph with a member of the audience after speaking at a campaign stop at Stevens High School, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Claremont, N.H. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign plans to ask for a “partial recanvass” of the results of last week's Iowa caucuses.

A campaign aide confirmed the plans Sunday night, ahead of a Monday deadline for candidates to ask the Iowa Democratic Party to recanvass the results. A recanvass is not a recount, but a check of the vote count against paper records to ensure the counts were reported accurately.

The state party released updated results on Sunday showing Pete Buttigieg leading Sanders by two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted.

The Associated Press remains unable to declare a winner because it believes the results may not be fully accurate and are still subject to potential revision.

Both Buttigieg and Sanders have claimed victory in the caucuses — Buttigieg, because he holds a razor-thin lead in the delegate count; Sanders, because he has received the most total support overall. But the chaos and inconsistencies in the reporting of the results have raised widespread doubts and prompted sharp criticism of the process by candidates and party leaders, and the field has largely shifted its focus to the next primary state, New Hampshire.

But with the slim margin separating Buttigieg and Sanders, the slightest mathematical or reporting mistake could have a significant impact on the race. In its request for a recanvass, campaigns must provide “an explanation about how the national delegation could be altered as a result of the problem or its correction,” according to the Iowa Democratic Party's delegate selection plan. A Sanders aide said the campaign will be asking the state party to review the results from 20 to 30 precincts.

The potential recanvass would further extend a process already clouded by uncertainty.

Technical issues roiled the caucuses. An app used by party volunteers to report results and jammed phone lines set up for the same purpose resulted in the Iowa Democratic Party failing to release any results to the public until nearly a day after the event. Party volunteers found inconsistencies in the complicated math used by caucus volunteers to calculate the outcome of each individual caucus.