Internal audit of 2020 Iowa caucuses points blame at national Democratic Party for delayed results

An independent review released on Saturday blames the national Democratic Party for the chaos and confusion on caucus night
Published: Dec. 12, 2020 at 6:23 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - An internal audit released by the Iowa Democratic Party on Saturday blamed the national Democratic for the chaos and delayed results of the 2020 Iowa caucuses.

The investigation concluded, overall, that the late development of the delegate-win reporting software and multiple procedural clashes between the state and national parties resulted resulted in a fiasco that was seen by many as a disaster and an embarrassment for Iowa and democrats in general.

Shortly after the February 3rd caucuses, the IDP hired a pair of Democratic lawyers-Nick Klinefeldt, who was a federal attorney appointed by President Barack Obama, and former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell-to identify and determine the cause of problems that occurred during the 2020 Iowa Caucuses, with the results of their investigation being released to the public on Saturday morning.

Notably, Shadow Inc., the company hired to design the app for the IDP, didn’t begin working on the reporting app (which precinct chair used to automatically calculate the awarded delegates and submit their caucus results to the IDP), until August 2019 and the app was not rolled out to users until January 18, 2020 (two weeks before the caucuses).

The report also says, in January, the Democratic National Committee decided to require Shadow to provide them with real-time access to the raw results reporting data in the DNC’s own systems on the night of the caucus, because they became concerned that Shadow’s app was inaccurately calculating caucus results based on first and second expression inputs. Efforts to grant the DNC this access led to the technical problems that eventually occurred on caucus night.

Beyond the issues with the reporting app and clashes between factions of the state and national parties, the 29-page offered conclusions and recommendations for the following issues:

  • The reporting app delays resulted in a lack of training and usage of the app.
  • The app delays were not all attributable to the IDP or Shadow, Inc.
  • The DNC’s database conversion tool contained a coding error.
  • The coding error was attributable to the DNC’s last-minute demand for real-time access to the IDP’s database.
  • The reporting app performed as intended and was not hacked or compromised.
  • The boiler room (party headquarters set up to handle inquiries and results reporting from around the state) had several problems (including inability to handle high call volumes and inability to segregate calls from the general public and precinct chairs).
  • There were multiple issues that delayed the reporting of the results.
  • New DNC requirements caused challenges for the caucusing process.
  • The IDP failed to manage expectations with the media.

Click here to read the report in its entirety.

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