It's been over three weeks since the Iowa Democratic caucuses became a subject of national confusion, frustration, and confusion. Now, in the latest embarrassment, the Associated Place is refusing to declare a winner in the hotly debated electoral fiasco after a recent recount.
After the Iowa Democratic Party released a new set of caucus results late Thursday, the AP explained its reasoning in a story dated Friday morning:
In the new results, Buttigieg has 562.954 state delegate equivalents and Sanders has 562.021 state delegate equivalents out of 2,151 counted. That is a margin of 0.04 percentage points.
The Associated Press has reviewed the updated results and will not call a winner, given remaining concerns about whether the results as reported by the party are fully accurate. The Feb. 3 caucuses were beset by technical glitches that led to a delay in reporting the results, inconsistencies in the numbers and no clear winner.
The party plans to certify the results on Saturday. At that point, the caucuses will formally end, and no further changes to the results will be made.
The latest recount was done at the request of the presidential campaigns of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Buttigieg and focused on 23 precincts over the course of two days, according to a Thursday statement from the state party.
And while Buttigieg still holds the lead in state delegate equivalents after the recount, Sanders still has the lead in the popular vote in the contest.
Saturday's final certification of the results will likely bring an end to what has been a nearly monthlong disaster for the Iowa Democratic Party, but the AP's decision in this case forecasts that there will always be doubts about their accuracy.
After days of chaos and confusion, final numbers came in on Feb. 6, but even those were plagued by accuracy concerns. At the time, the Associated Press said that it couldn't declare a winner in the contest, citing the "tight margin between Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders and irregularities in this year's caucus process."
Furthermore, the New York Times analysis also found that "more than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent, that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of the Iowa caucuses."
The caucuses problem was later blamed on a malfunctioning reporting app, which inspired Democrats in Nevada to change their caucus reporting process ahead of time in order to avoid a similar debacle from the same technology.