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Iowa caucus results: What happened and what could come next?

The political universe has been turned upside down by the failure of the Iowa caucuses.

Traditionally the event provides the first concrete tally after months of speculation about the presidential primary.

But Monday night’s Democratic caucuses ended inconclusively as the state party blamed technological problems for preventing it from reporting results.

Here are some questions and answers about what happened — and what might come next.

The Iowa Democratic Party says an app created to compile and report caucus results malfunctioned due to a “coding issue,” delaying the count. The party says there are no signs of hacking or other intrusion and that the underlying data is “sound.”

The problem was that the app only reported partial data when the precinct chairs sent the information to party headquarters.


There were some concerns ahead of time. The caucuses were operating under new, complex rules that required the reporting of three different tiers of results, and that appears to have complicated the counting.

The Iowa Democratic Party didn’t roll the app out to its 1,678 caucus locations until a few hours before the meetings began Monday night. Party officials had said they would not be sending the new mobile app to precinct chairs for downloading until just before the caucuses to narrow the window for any interference, and there wasn’t widespread pretesting by volunteers running the caucus sites.

The results of each caucus meeting must be tabulated on paper. Party officials are going door-to-door across the state to verify the written results of each caucus meeting and check them against what was reported on the app. This will take time.

That’s unclear. The Iowa Democratic Party would not say when it would release full results. It did release the tallies of 71% of the state’s precincts late Tuesday, but they were not enough to call the race.

The fractional result showed former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg with a slight lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the contest for State Delegate Equivalents. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar trailed.

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