This submission is currently being researched & evaluated!
You can help confirm this entry by contributing facts, media, and other evidence of notability and mutation.
The 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucus refers to the presidential primary election which happened in Iowa, the first voting contest in the 2020 Democratic Primary. The election was marred by controversy after an app used to tally the votes, manufactured by the tech firm Shadow, faced technical difficulties, delaying the results and raising suspicions of voter fraud. This suspicion was heightened after Pete Buttigieg appeared to give a victory speech despite no official votes being released. Buttigieg's campaign is a client of Shadow, having purchased a service to send text messages to voters from the firm.
On February 3rd, 2020, Iowa began its caucus for the 2020 United States Presidential Election. Whereas a traditional primary contest will award the candidate with the most votes in a state all of its delegate, a caucus operates differently. In a caucus, a district meets and people in that group will select a candidate in the first round of voting. If a candidate doesn't meet a required percentage of supporters, those supporters can elect to support another candidate in the second round of voting. Delegates are awarded based on how the percentage of voters per precinct. Running basically unopposed, Donald Trump secured an easy victory in the Republican contest.
For the 2020 Iowa Caucus, officials implemented an app used to tally the votes developed by a tech firm called Shadow Inc. That evening, many district officials claimed they were unable to submit their district's vote tallies via the app. Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price blamed the problem on a coding error and said there were "inconsistencies" in some of the results. He assured that it was not a cyber attack or the work of otherwise nefarious actors. This led to an extended delay in reporting the results, as officials were going back to count the written votes manually.
With cable news giving round-the-clock news coverage of the caucuses, candidates began using the dead air to give speeches to their supporters. While several candidates gave speeches speaking of their successes in the caucus, Joe Biden, who was polling poorly in the state ahead of the caucus, gave a speech described as "trying to buck up his supporters" ahead of the next contest in New Hampshire. Of note, Pete Buttigieg gave a speech where it appeared he was claiming victory in the caucus, despite no official results being announced. Buttigieg's speech appeared suspicious to some, as his campaign had donated $42,500 to Shadow in July of 2019. The next morning, when reporter DJ Judd attempted to ask Buttigieg if his speech was premature, he declined to respond (shown below).
After his coffee with Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, I asked Pete Buttigieg if it was premature to declare a victory in Iowa last night. He declined to respond. pic.twitter.com/QiiBilRP2C— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) February 4, 2020
Amidst the chaos, the Bernie Sanders campaign released their internal data from Iowa, which represented roughly 40% of precincts in the state. Their numbers showed Sanders ahead with roughly 30% of the vote, Buttigieg in second with 25%, Elizabeth Warren in third with 21%, Biden in fourth with 12%, and Amy Klobuchar in fifth with 11%. Buttigieg's campaign released a memo with their internal data as well, also showing a roughly 25% vote number with 75% of the precincts reporting, though their report did not show the other candidates' results.
Tom Perez Declares Recanvass
On February 4th, the Iowa Democratic Party released 62% of the results, showing Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders in a virtual tie, with Sanders having a slight edge in the popular vote and Buttigieg having a slight edge in the delegate percentage count, though the numbers would give both Sanders and Buttigieg ten delegates from Iowa moving forward.
Over the following day, as more precincts reported, Sanders appeared to be gaining on Buttigieg's State Delegate Equivalent count. Late at night on February 5th, 97% of precincts had reported, showing Sanders had a strong lead in the popular vote and was .1 State Delegate Equivalent behind Buttigieg. The remaining precinct was a satellite caucus that Sanders was expected to win, which would give him the overall edge and the victory in Iowa by all metrics.
On February 6th, the New York Times reported that the results were "riddled" with inconsistencies discovered the day prior. The inconsistencies were not the result of the crashed-app controversy. These include official vote tallies not matching up with those given independently by precincts, precincts awarding votes to the wrong candidates, and vote tallies not adding up. For example, It was discovered that some precincts were awarding votes intended for Sanders and Warren to Tom Steyer and Deval Patrick. These inconsistencies were widely shared on Twitter as well. Later that day Tom Perez, the head a of the DNC, declared a "recanvass" of the votes, meaning the votes would once again be recounted after they were once delayed due to inconsistencies with the app developed by Shadow. There is no timetable as to when the recanvassed results will be released.
Online called for the resignation of DNC chair Tom Perez using the hashtag #TomPerezResign, with people suspicious that the failure in Iowa was the work of the DNC attempting to stunt Bernie Sanders' momentum. Other, related trending hashtags include #IowaCaucusDisaster and #DNCisCorrupt.
On Reddit, live threads covering the news in /r/politics gained roughly 2,000 points apiece. In /r/The_Donald, Redditor ThreeDogBowWow posted a Jeb Wins about Iowa, gaining over 1,500 points (shown below, left). User markipol posted a Sleeping Shaq meme about the bizarreness of the Iowa caucus rules in /r/PresidentialRaceMemes, gaining over 610 points (shown below, right).
One particularly memorable moment of the night featured an Iowa precinct representative on hold with the Iowa Democratic Party, allegedly for an hour calling into CNN. While speaking to Wolf Blitzer, the Iowa Democratic Party took him off hold and when he didn't immediately respond, the party hung up on him (shown below). All of this happened on live television.
Here's video of the Iowa precinct guy getting hung up on by the Democratic Party reporting line while he's live on CNN. pic.twitter.com/mIDnTFqQFy— Marcus Gilmer (@marcusgilmer) February 4, 2020
The debacle led to heightened suspicions online that something was amiss. Buttigieg's connection to Shadow and his apparent victory speech led the hashtag "#MayorCheat" to trend on Twitter. User @jackallisonLOL tweeted, "i feel really bad for all the young people and first time caucus goers that #MayorCheat and the DNC stole their big night from them. disgusting. this is the kind of thing that disenfranchises people forever!", gaining over 1,100 likes (shown below, left). User @indianaboognish tweeted, "So let me get this straight. #MayorCheat had internal numbers showing he LOST and then STILL claimed victory? How does that work exactly? #BernieWon" (shown below, center). User @nochorus tweeted a Metal Gear Solid parody of Buttigieg's involvement with Shadow (shown below, right).
I Watched 62% Of…
I Watched 62% Of… is a Twitter snowclone parodying those who began analyzing the news that Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders were in a virtual tie for first place in the 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucus with 62% of precincts in the state counted. The snowclone features people joking about pop culture stories in which stopping 62% of the way through would result in giving a false impression of the ending. For example, @chbooksdc made a joke about The Great Gatsby, tweeting, "Just finished 62% of this novel and we’re so excited for Gatsby and Daisy," gaining over 7,200 retweets and 59,000 likes (shown below, left). User @gregprice11 posted an example using Game of Thrones, gaining over 310 retweets and 3,000 likes (shown below, right). The jokes were covered in a Twitter Events page.
Suspected 4chan Raid
On February 3rd, an anon on /pol/ suggested raiding the Iowa Caucuses.
Late at night on February 4th, several users on /pol/ posted the number of the Iowa Democratic party and suggested calling it to "clog the lines" and further delay results. It appears that one anon copied the message, "clog the lines, make the call lads, after 54 minutes they answered and l was able to tie up the call another ten minutes with the woman who answered because she called me sir and l demanded to speak to a supervisor who would use my correct pronouns of "they /them" before l would report my caucus results" several times. This led some media outlets, including Bloomberg and NBC News to declare that 4chan had conducted a raid that impacted the delay.
 New York Times – Iowa Caucus Results Riddled With Errors and Inconsistencies