Democratic Party Chair Calls Caucus Night Problems 'Unacceptable'

Feb 4, 2020

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price apologized Tuesday afternoon for technical problems that caused a long delay in reporting the first results from the Iowa caucus.

The first numbers ranking the candidates were shared nearly 24 hours after the caucuses took place. Party leaders said they resorted to tallying caucus results by hand from paper records Monday night after they learned a mobile caucus app designed to streamline the reporting process was only submitting partial data.

A coding error was responsible for the problem, Price said. Other precinct leaders also reported trouble downloading and using the app.

“The bottom line is that we hit a stumbling block on the back end of the reporting of the data,” Price told reporters at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. “But the one thing that I want you to know, we know this data is accurate.”

Price said the party worked with cybersecurity experts in advance of the caucuses, but the coding mistakes were not apparent at that time.

The confusion around reporting the caucus results revived calls to revoke Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status in choosing presidential nominees. Price said that’s not his focus now.

“The fact is that this is a conversation that happens every four years,” Price said. “There's no doubt that conversation will take place again."

In a statement on Twitter, Shadow, Inc., the company that designed the app, said it regrets “the uncertainty it has caused to the candidates, their campaigns and Democratic caucus-goers.”

Price said after all of the results have been reported the party will commission an independent review of what happened on caucus night, but he would not give a firm timeline of when the complete caucus numbers would be released.

“We want Iowans to be confident in the results and in the process,” Price said. “And we are going to take the time that we need to make sure that we do just that.”