Iowa — Chaos and confusion over Democratic party rules have now been blamed for unilateral changes to Monday night’s caucus results in at least one precinct. As the Guardian reported:
“In Grinnell Ward 1, the precinct where elite liberal arts college Grinnell College is located, 19 delegates were awarded to Bernie Sanders and seven were awarded to Hillary Clinton on caucus night. However, the Iowa Democratic Party decided to shift one delegate from Sanders to Clinton on the night and did not notify precinct secretary J. Pablo Silva that they had done so. Silva only discovered that this had happened the next day, when checking the precinct results in other parts of the country.”
Though the night was, indeed, disorganized and mismanaged, as the Des Moines Register noted in an editorial, “What happened Monday night at the caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy, and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.”
A lack of sufficiently trained volunteer staff wasn’t the only issue during and after Monday night’s caucuses. Voter confusion, queues stretching outside, inadequate numbers of voter registration forms, and general mayhem were also reported. Those problems might have been compensated by a diligent tallying of the results — but that simply didn’t happen.
Party officials informed the Sanders campaign it wouldn’t be issuing any statement on results until the morning after, saying “they would reconvene at 9am and let’s talk” — shortly before issuing the statement of results and delegate counts announcing Clinton had won. As the Guardian pointed out, however, Clinton’s lead at present only amounts to slightly more than two-tenths of one percent, or Clinton would receive 23 delegates to the national convention, and Sanders, 21.
But despite this virtual tie, the Iowa Democratic Party has refused to audit the results.
“The Iowa Democratic Party must act quickly to assure the accuracy of the caucus results, beyond a shadow of a doubt,” the Register implored. “A caucus should not be confused with an election, but it’s worth noting that much larger margins trigger automatic recounts in other states.” In fact, “Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunity for error amid Monday night’s chaos.”
With so many questions and doubts raised about Monday night’s fiasco, the refusal to audit results only heightens suspicions of both Sanders’ supporters and the public-at-large. Clinton’s phenomenal coin-toss luck seems inconsequential compared to blatantly switched results — no matter if such a switch was accidental or not.
If you’ve done nothing wrong, as Homeland Security might say, then you have nothing to hide.