BREAKING: Dow plunges nearly 1,200 points as coronavirus fears send markets diving

DNC chair calls for Iowa to recanvass caucus vote, says 'enough is enough'

The results of Monday's Iowa caucuses were delayed after there were problems with a smartphone app.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Phil Helsel

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez is calling on Iowa Democratic officials to immediately recanvass Monday's caucus vote after days of uncertainty and growing concerns about "inconsistencies" found in the data.

"Enough is enough," Perez said in a tweet. "In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass."

A recanvass is essentially a double-checking of the vote. Iowa officials would have to hand -audit the caucus worksheets and reporting forms to ensure that they were correctly calculated and reported.

In a statement released later Thursday, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price did not address the request from Perez and instead said that the party would take on a recanvass if any of the presidential campaigns request it.

"We owe it to the thousands of Iowa Democratic volunteers and caucusgoers to remain focused on collecting and reviewing incoming results," Price said, noting that officials "identified inconsistencies in the data and used our redundant paper records to promptly correct those errors. This is an ongoing process in close coordination with precinct chairs, and we are working diligently to report the final 54 precincts to get as close to final reporting as possible."

As of Thursday morning, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was clinging to the narrowest of leads in Iowa over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with 100 percent of the caucus vote released.

Buttigieg was at 26.2 percent and Sanders had 26.1 percent, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., running behind the pair of leaders at 18.2 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden had 15.8 percent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., at 12.2 percent and other candidates were in low single digits.

Sanders told reporters Thursday that he is not concerned about the DNC's call for a recanvassing.

"We won an 8-person election by some 6,000 votes," Sanders said. "That is not going to change."

Klobuchar told NBC News on Thursday that she supported the process.

"You have to make sure that every single vote was counted," she said. "Sometimes in caucuses things can be close."

Iowa Democratic caucus results are not actual votes cast. The percentages, based on partial returns of the estimated number of state convention delegates won by each candidate through the caucus process, are known as state delegate equivalents, or SDEs.

The totals were put out by the Iowa Democratic Party over the past two days after chaos over the caucuses Monday night. More data may be released Thursday.

NBC News has not called a winner in the first-in-the-nation contest.

In addition to the estimates of convention delegates, the Iowa Democratic Party also released two other numbers:

In voters' initial candidate preference at the caucuses, Sanders had 43,671 votes, and Buttigieg got 37,557 votes.

In voters' reallocated preference, Sanders had 45,826 votes, and Buttigieg trailed slightly with 43,195 votes. The reallocated preference is the raw tally taken after the caucus process known as realignment. If a caucusgoer's initial candidate preference did not receive enough support to meet the precinct location's viability threshold (15 percent in most caucus locations), the caucusgoer is allowed to shift his or her support — or realign — to another candidate who did attain viability.

Results from the contest were delayed by what organizers said was a problem with a smartphone app. Final tallies had been expected that evening, but instead, partial results were released Tuesday and the remainder Wednesday.

Nevada's Democratic Party, which had planned to use the app for its Feb. 22 caucus, said a day after the fiasco in Iowa that it would not use the app after all. The state's Democratic Party said Tuesday that it had previously developed backup plans for its reporting systems and was in the process of "evaluating the best path forward."

Cybersecurity experts who examined a public version of the smartphone app told NBC News it contained technical and design flaws and appeared to have been rushed into use.

Caucusgoers gathered Monday at nearly 1,700 sites across Iowa to tally support for their preferred candidates. As the delay stretched on into Tuesday, candidates came out to give speeches that sounded a lot like declarations of victory despite no numbers to support or refute them.

The state has 41 pledged delegates up for grabs, and the high-stakes contest traditionally plays a major role in determining who is a legitimate contender in the race.

Even with only a little more than 90 percent reporting in Iowa, Buttigieg on Wednesday night continued to tout the caucus as a win, telling a New York fundraiser that "we remain in the lead."

"There is just no question that Monday in Iowa represents an astonishing victory for our vision, for our candidacy and for this country," the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor said according to a pool report.