Joe Biden, former US vice president and Democratic presidential hopeful, smiles while signing autographs at the Polk County Democrats’ Steak Fry in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, September 21, 2019. (Reuters)
DES MOINES, Iowa – The United States Democratic presidential nominating race got off to a slow and rocky start in Iowa on Monday, as the results of the state’s caucuses were delayed for hours while party officials double-checked “inconsistencies” in the initial count.
Voters poured into more than 1 600 schools, community centres and other public locations around Iowa, the first state to choose a November election challenger to Republican U.S. President Donald Trump.
The Iowa state party said it was doing “quality checks” on the results and found “inconsistencies in the reporting” of the data from the caucus sites.
“In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report,” state party spokeswoman Mandy McClure said.
“This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion,” she said, adding the underlying data and paper trail were sound.
Iowa voters were meeting to render judgment on a field of 11 Democratic contenders led by front-runners Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Vice President Joe Biden, who have battled for the top in recent Iowa opinion polls.
Long lines and heavy crowds were reported in some locations, but doors to the caucus sites closed and the process began at 7 p.m. CST (0100 GMT on Tuesday).
Mostly white, rural Iowa is the first test in the state-by-state battle to pick a Democratic nominee to face Trump in the Nov. 3 election. After more than a year of campaigning and more than $800 million in spending, the results in Iowa will begin to provide answers for a party desperately trying to figure out how to beat the businessman-turned-president. (Reuters)