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Report reveals Democratic National Committee’s ‘intervention’ to blame for chaos at 2020 Iowa caucuses

Report reveals Democratic National Committee’s ‘intervention’ to blame for chaos at 2020 Iowa caucuses
An audit commissioned by the Iowa Democratic Party has found that the national Democratic Party’s “intervention” in the process led to the delayed and questioned results at the very beginning of the 2020 presidential election.

The Iowa caucuses should have kicked off a frontrunner in the race for the party’s presidential nomination. Two of the candidates – South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders – were claiming they were winning the contest in a key state that often defines the eventual winner. However, inconsistencies in reporting results led many to question them, for example the Associated Press announced it did not have enough faith in the process to declare a winner at the time.

Back then, the eventual nominee, Joe Biden, did not get enough support in Iowa to even be among the top three candidates in the state, trailing behind Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. However, Buttigieg later handed all the delegates he won in Iowa to the former vice president, giving him a much-needed advantage over Bernie Sanders in the national fight for the nomination.

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The report, released on Saturday, found that the DNC was responsible for delaying a new app meant to report results quicker, and their demand for last-minute technology to be implemented into the process ultimately led to a chaotic event.

“Without the DNC's intervention in that process, the IDP may have reported results in real-time as it intended,” said the report, which also cast blame on the state party for not creating a back-up plan for reporting results.

“As of the Friday before the caucuses, the IDP knew there were only approximately 400 temporary precinct chairs (out of more than 1,700) who had successfully downloaded and accessed the app,” the report said. “The IDP should have taken aggressive steps to scale up its telephone back-up reporting system at that time.”

The leadup to the caucuses was peppered with confusion between state party officials and the DNC. The new report claims development of an app by Shadow Inc. was supposed to begin in July and end in November, leaving two months for training and implementation. The DNC, however, expressed security concerns with the state party, halting negotiations for months, leading to a rushed development process. The app was eventually rolled out only weeks before the caucuses were set to begin.

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Shadow Inc. earlier received thousands of dollars from the Buttigieg campaign for developing a separate app. It was also contracted by Joe Biden’s campaign in the past as well. 

On election night, the state party found itself unprepared to take results by phone as many volunteers chose not to work with the buggy app. The DNC also made a last minute requirement that Shadow provide them with real-time results so they could double-check state numbers, something the report claims the company was not prepared for and led to a halt in releasing results to the public as discrepancies in numbers were found and the last-minute demand created confusion.

“Attempting to graft an entirely new software element onto the back-end reporting system at the proverbial eleventh hour is likely always going to be problematic, and it was ultimately the cause of a major problem on caucus night,” the report said. 

The report found that eventually votes could be confirmed through a manual paper system and claimed results submitted through the app were ultimately “accurately reported.” 

DNC officials put the blame of the chaos on state party representatives in the weeks following the caucus. 

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Critics have responded to the report’s lengthy findings by chalking it up to the DNC trying to control or even “cheat” the results.

“In 2016, the DNC's top 5 officials were forced to resign when WikiLeaks published proof they systematically cheated to prevent Bernie from beating Hillary,” reporter Glenn Greenwald tweeted on Sunday, referring to emails from 2016 showing national party officials favoring a Clinton victory over Sanders, ultimately leading to multiple resignations.

“In the first caucus of 2020 (Iowa), they cheated again, with the same goal. They blamed the state Party but it was the DNC,” Greenwald added.

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