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The Iowa Democratic Party establishes a timeline to determine the timeline for a caucus recanvass


Passing the time at South East Junior High during the Iowa Caucus. Monday, Feb 3, 2020. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

The Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) has now established a timeline for completing a partial recanvass of the results in the Feb. 3 caucus. Or rather, a timeline for deciding what the timeline for the recanvass will be.

On Monday, both the Sanders and Buttigieg campaign requested recanvasses of certain caucus precincts, and on Wednesday, the IDP sent letters to the campaigns formally accepting those requests.

A recanvass reviews the results listed on the caucus precinct worksheets, but does not go as far as a recount, which would examine the presidential preference cards filled out by caucus participants. The campaigns will have to pay for the expenses associated with the recanvasses.

The recanvasses, however, will not begin until there has been another exchange between the IDP and the campaigns.

According to a written statement from the IDP, “On Friday morning, the IDP Recanvass/Recount Committee, in consultation with the State Central Committee, will transmit to the campaigns further details on costs associated with the recanvass and the timeline going forward.”

The two campaigns will have 24 hours to confirm they still want the recanvasses. The IDP estimates any recanvass would start on Sunday, Feb. 16 and take two days to complete. That means the official results of the Feb. 3 caucus could be published late on Feb. 17 or on the following day.

According to the current official results, Sen. Bernie Sanders received the most support in the caucus — 45,842 supporters in the final alignment, which was 2,568 more than Pete Buttigieg — but Buttigieg will be awarded two more national delegates than Sanders. That is because the IDP awards national delegates on the basis of state delegate equivalents (SDEs), and party rules give small, rural precincts, where Buttigieg did best, more SDEs to award per number of participants than in larger precincts, where Sanders was strongest.

Something similar happened in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

Sanders finished first in New Hampshire, beating second-place finisher Buttigieg by 3,867, but because of the way that state’s Democratic Party awards delegates, both candidates will receive nine delegates to the Democratic National Convention.


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