Results Continue to Come in From the Iowa Caucuses But the Math Doesn't Seem to Add Up

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Posted: Feb 06, 2020 12:10 AM
Results Continue to Come in From the Iowa Caucuses But the Math Doesn't Seem to Add Up

Source: AP Photo/Matthew Brown

Results from Monday night's caucuses in Iowa are still coming in. As of now, 92 percent of precincts are reporting and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is currently in the lead, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a close second. 

Many of us have wondered what the hold up is and why the math is taking so long to calculate who came out victorious.

According to Lulu Friesdat, the founder of SMART Elections and a writer for The Hill, it looks as though there are rounding errors in the precinct math worksheets.

"When Awarding Delegates, Decimals of .5 and greater are rounded up and decimals less than .5 are rounded down to the nearest whole number," the sheets instructions say. That's pretty straight forward math. 

But here's where things get tricky. A rule in the Iowa Democratic Party's Precinct Leader Manual says that if the number of viable delegates is higher than the number calculated based on those who voted and the candidates still in the race, an extra delegate is given out. That extra delegate is given to the candidate with the highest decimal below .5. If there is a tie then a coin toss takes place for that extra delegate.

According to Friesdat, the Iowa Democratic Party has yet to respond to her inquiry about delegate calculations.

She did, however, point out one interesting fact: the delegate calculation is based on the original number of voters, not the final round. That means people are being counted for votes even when they're not voting when their candidate is no longer considered viable.

Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain: this process is a mess. It's confusing, complex and, quite frankly, out-of-date. 

The Iowa Democratic Party said they were double-checking the results to make sure they were accurate. Now we know why.

Editor's note: Lulu Friesdat deleted her original thread with precinct worksheets. It has been updated with her new thread showing additional information she has received.