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Iowa caucus live updates: Buttigieg, Sanders reach virtual tie with 100 percent of results released

The first-in-the-nation voting state was thrown into disarray late Monday after the Iowa Democratic Party delayed releasing results.

The Iowa Democratic Party announced the release of 100 percent of the state caucus results Thursday night, showing Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders neck and neck in their lead over the rest of the Democratic candidates. The results could change as more data is examined, and NBC has not called a winner in the race.

The Iowa Democrats' announcement comes after Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez called on state party officials to recanvass the results of Monday's caucuses amid growing concerns about their accuracy (see NBC News' review of the results).

Caucusgoers gathered at nearly 1,700 sites across Iowa on Monday night to tally support for their preferred candidates only for the count to be thrown into disarray when what Iowa Democrats called "inconsistencies" delayed the reporting of results.

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. Candidates in the crowded Democratic field needed to meet a threshold of support (at least 15 percent of attendees at most caucus sites) to become viable, or they saw supporters move on to someone else.

Highlights from the Iowa caucuses

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Biden camp shreds 'considerable flaws' in letter to Iowa Democratic Party

The Biden campaign has sent a letter to the Iowa Democratic Party about tonight's delays. From Dana Remus, Biden's general counsel:

 "I write on behalf of the Biden for President Campaign regarding the considerable flaws in tonight’s Iowa Caucus reporting system. The app that was intended to relay Caucus results to the Party failed; the Party’s back-up telephonic reporting system likewise has failed. Now, we understand that Caucus Chairs are attempting to — and, in many cases, failing to — report results telephonically to the Party. These acute failures are occurring statewide.

We appreciate that you plan to brief the campaigns momentarily on these issues, and we plan to participate. However, we believe that the campaigns deserve full explanations and relevant information regarding the methods of quality control you are employing, and an opportunity to respond, before any official results are released. We look forward to hearing from you promptly.

In the meantime, we are on to New Hampshire, on the road to the most important election of our lifetimes."

Klobuchar implores her crowd to 'stay up, stay happy'

No results are in yet, but that didn't stop Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., from coming out to give what sounded like a victory speech Monday night.

Other candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden, quickly followed suit. 

“We know there’s delays, but we know one thing: we are punching above our weight,” she told a cheering crowd of supporters in a televised address. “We are feeling so good tonight.”

The senator isn't expected to come first here in Iowa's caucuses, but she enjoyed a late polling surge and took advantage of the delay in the results to give a version of her stump speech.

“Somehow, some way, I’m going to get on a plane to New Hampshire tonight,” she said. “Even in a crowded field of candidates, even during the well-earned impeachment hearing of Donald Trump that kept me bolted to my senate desk for two weeks. We kept fighting, and you kept fighting for me.”

With a crowd that interrupted her to chant "Amy! Amy! Amy!," Klobuchar encouraged her supporters to stay up late and wait for the tally.

"Stay up, stay happy!" she said.

'Inconsistencies' caused Iowa delays, party says

The Iowa Democratic Party blamed tonight's delays on "inconsistencies" with the caucus results.

"We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results. In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report," Iowa Democratic Party Communications Director Mandy McClure said. "This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results."

Iowa results backup system 'a disaster'

A source familiar with the process says the results app that the party is using is clearly not working and the backup phone line is likewise “a disaster.”

All campaigns participating in the party briefing momentarily.

Iowa Democratic Party speaking to campaigns about delays

There’s a call between the Iowa Democratic Party and representatives from each campaign happening right now, a senior Sanders campaign aide said.

Sanders, Klobuchar campaigns react to delays

The Sanders and Klobuchar campaigns reacted to the result delays.

"Let's see what's happening," Ari Rabin-Havt, Sanders' deputy campaign manager, said. "I will be concerned when I have information. You guys have the same information I have."

Klobuchar’s team is “feeling good” right now about their results — they were unexpectedly viable in satellite caucuses today in Arizona and Florida, both with large turnouts despite not doing much organizing in those states. They’re also unexpectedly viable in some Des Moines suburbs, so they’re all positive right now.

What they’re not positive about is not having the official results yet.

Iowa Democrats set expectations for lower-than-predicted turnout

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Democratic Party released their first on-the-record statement as they've delayed releasing results from Monday's caucuses — and the big news is turnout. 

Communications director Mandy McClure said the party's "early data indicates turnout is on pace for 2016," which would be much lower than predictions of record turnout. 

Just 172,000 Democrats participated in the caucuses in 2016, which was way down from the record set in 2008, when 239,000 turned out. 

The party had been preparing for record turnout and many Iowa Democrats thought the jumbo-sized 2020 field would help drive more people to the polls. But if the party's early projection proves true, those predictions may have been way off. 

What's this about an app?

With the reports of the Iowa caucus results delayed, there's some question about whether a new smartphone app meant to speed up reporting has been more trouble than it's worth.

NBC News' Ben Popken wrote about the app in January, noting that security experts expressed come concern about the app, noting that it was expected to be downloaded on to the phones of caucus managers.

The app was not the only way for precinct managers to report results, with a phone hotline also available in addition to paper backups.

The new app first showed signs of trouble earlier in the day, with some precinct leaders and county chairs stating that they were unable — or unwilling — to use the app.

And by the way, the app is supposed to used in the upcoming Nevada caucuses.

Iowa Democrats give more info on delays, say turnout matches 2016

Iowa Democratic Party Communications Director Mandy McClure said in a statement, "The integrity of the results is paramount. We have experienced a delay in the results due to quality checks and the fact that the IDP is reporting out three data sets for the first time. What we know right now is that around 25% of precincts have reported, and early data indicates turnout is on pace for 2016." 

How coin tosses — yes, really — are used in Iowa's caucuses

DES MOINES, Iowa — A handful of coin flips have been used to help determine outcomes of tied results in a few Iowa caucus precincts Monday night, according to reports.

Iowa Democratic Party rules dictate that in some circumstances if, "two or more preference groups are tied...a coin toss shall determine which group" has to disband or get another delegate.

A coin toss is used in a few cases, including to determine which candidate gets an extra delegate if two or more candidates' supporters are tied at the margins. In cases where two or more groups are tied for the lowest number of supporters in the caucus room and both are at risk of being forced to disband, a coin toss can determine which group of supporters has to go elsewhere. 

There were 13 coin tosses statewide in 2016 — seven of which went for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and six of which went for Hillary Clinton, according to the Iowa Democratic Party.

Those coin flips were highly controversial, with Sanders supporters claiming they tipped the race towards Clinton, even though it was later determined that more went for him than Clinton.

Iowa Democratic caucus race too early to call, according to NBC News

DES MOINES, Iowa — Early entrance polls show four leading candidates vying for first place on Monday night in Iowa's Democratic caucuses, with final results remaining unclear after a delay in their release.

Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were all contesting for the lead, according to an NBC News entrance poll.

Results were much slower than expected, with no data being released by 10:15 p.m. ET. The Iowa Democratic Party, which runs the caucuses, says it is taking quality control steps out of an abundance of caution. By this time in 2016, well over 50 percent of the results were in.

The party is, for the first time, releasing three separate numbers from the caucuses — at the beginning of the caucus, at the end and how many delegates that translates to — which has added to the complexity of the process.

Support for each candidate will likely change inside each precinct throughout the caucus process, which is very different from traditional voting.

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