Sanders, Buttigieg campaigns file for recanvass of 85 Iowa precincts

The Democratic presidential campaigns of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg have asked the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) to recanvass a total of 85 precincts following last week’s chaotic Iowa caucuses.

The Sanders campaign is requesting a recanvass of 25 precincts and three satellite caucuses, which it argues have errors in counting. If the errors exist, the campaign says it will pick up one more national delegate and tip the balance of the race in Sanders’ favor.

“While a recanvass is just the first step in the process and we don’t expect it to change the current calculations, it is a necessary part of making sure Iowans can trust the final results of the caucus,” Sanders' 2020 senior adviser Jeff Weaver said. “Our volunteers and supporters worked too hard, and too many people participated for the first time, to have the results depend on calculations that even the party admits are incorrect."

Weaver added: “Once the recanvass and a subsequent recount are completed in these precincts, we feel confident we will be awarded the extra national delegate our volunteers and grassroots donors earned.”

Buttigieg's campaign has asked for a recanvass of 66 precincts.

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The state party said it came out to a total of 85 precincts after removing duplicities requested by both campaigns.

The Recount/Recanvass Committee in Iowa said it will review the requests to determine whether each meets the required standard and will notify the campaigns within 48 hours of their decision.

A recanvass is not a recount, but a check of the vote count against paper records to ensure the counts were reported accurately.

While the IDP on Sunday released updated results showing Buttigieg leading Sanders by two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted, the Associated Press says it is still unable to declare a winner because the wire service 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 in raw votes. 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 IDP'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.

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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 IDP 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.

To confirm the validity of the data they received, IDP officials spent much of the week collecting paper records of the results and checking them against the numbers reported by volunteers. But issues continued to plague the party’s reporting, and the IDP on Saturday said it was reviewing reported inconsistencies in 95 precincts. On Sunday, they released updated results, which still gave Buttigieg a narrow lead in the delegate count.

Fox News' Andrew Craft and The Associated Press contributed to this report.