Caucus preference cards not filled out "when they were supposed to" in Cedar County

Published: Feb. 4, 2020 at 4:52 PM CST
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Some Iowans that attended Democratic caucuses on Monday night are reporting frustrations with how the events were conducted.

Among those expressing concerns is Kora West who caucused at West Branch High School in Cedar County. West said she does not think the results that came out of her precinct can be trusted as she alleges volunteers did not follow caucus rules. West also says the cards that allowed participants to write down their preferred candidate were not used until the second alignment.

"There was a lot of people that had to move over to a different candidate before they wrote that was their first preference," West said.

West said some caucus-goers, frustrated and confused by what was happening, ended up leaving the event altogether.

"It was kind of unfair for those people because they didn't get a voice," West said.

The chairperson of the Cedar County Democrats confirmed the cards at the West Branch High School caucus event were not filled out "when they were supposed to." He said he is looking into finding out what went wrong.

Problems were also reported in Marion at the Excelsior Middle School site. Volunteers there reportedly gave the wrong information to Warren supporters after the first alignment, not allowing them to combine with other groups so they could become viable

Not everyone who caucused in eastern Iowa, however, reported problems. For example, Slayton Thompson, who caucused at the CSPS building in Cedar Rapids, said the caucus was among the most well-run he's experienced in years.

"We all moved in our preference groups after the first round and when you weren't viable with 15 percent you had to realign," Thompson said.

Bret Nilles, the chairperson of the Linn County Democrats, served as a chair of a caucus site. Nilles says he personally had no issues using the app under scrutiny to report results.

"For me, the app was a matter of most apps on your phone, you log in, this one had extra security built-in," Nilles said.

Nilles said he had not heard about reported issues at Excelsior Middle School.

Nilles said that he is worried that what has unfolded will leave a black eye on the state that may put the future of the caucuses in jeopardy.