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Audit Shows DNC Complicated Iowa's 2020 Caucuses

Natalie Krebs
IPR file
An Iowa caucus precinct in Des Moines on caucus night 2020.

The Iowa Democratic Party has released the audit it commissioned following the 2020 Iowa caucus fiasco and it shows there were multiple problems, but the DNC played a major role.

An audit released Saturday shows the Democratic National Committee played a major role in Iowa’s disastrous caucus night, which kicked off the primary back in February. The Iowa Democratic Party commissioned the report to understand what went wrong shortly after the February 3 caucuses.

The caucus results were delayed for days thanks in part to a faulty smartphone app. The autopsy lays out several reasons as to why things went wrong. Among them: The DNC feared the app would miscalculate results on caucus night. The DNC demanded the app developer, Shadow, build a conversion tool just weeks before the caucuses so the DNC could access the raw numbers.

“When the DNC database’s conversion tool failed to work correctly it caused the DNC to wrongly stop the IDP from reporting its results,” said Attorney Nick Klinefeldt, who was one of the authors of the audit.

On a virtual press conference with reporters, attorney and audit co-author Bonnie Campbell stressed it wasn’t their task to tell the party what to do with the report but rather to review what happened caucus night.

“I think our party leaders will read the report and find new and better ways to avoid what happened last caucus night on the next caucus night but that will be up to the leaders of the Democratic Party.”

A reporter also asked Campbell if she thought this report would have an impact on Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus status.

“I really don’t know the future of the Iowa caucuses and I don’t know that this report is going to alter that in any significant way at all,” Campbell said. “In fact, I doubt that it does.”

The audit is dated November 10 and the party released the results of the audit to its state central committee on Saturday.

The DNC did not participate in interviews with the lawyers who prepared the audit.

Read the full report here.

Clay Masters is the senior politics reporter for MPR News.