The 2020 election season has started with quite an embarrassing controversy for the Democratic Party that had many asking this question after the Iowa caucuses: what is happening and are these necessary anymore?
The Iowa Caucuses have been known as the kickoff to the election season for centuries. Its purpose is to let voters know who is in the lead according to the citizens of Iowa.
The voting breaks down into 2 rounds of elimination: first, registered Iowa voters meet at a public location, a school gym for example, and they form groups based on who their first choice is as who should be the Democratic Primary candidate.
Each candidate needs to earn 15% of the vote to advance to the next round. Candidates who do not get 15% of the vote are eliminated from going into the second round and voters who had them as their first choice are free to vote for another candidate.
Once the second round has finished, the votes in each county are tallied up and released so the public knows which candidate finished in first place, a previous tell of who the Democratic nominee will end up being (Hilary Clinton won in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2008).
The results are supposed to be broadcasted within hours after the last votes are placed but with new technology comes new problems.
An app was released specifically for the Iowa caucuses in an attempt to produce the results efficiently, 12 hours later with no results proves that app wasn’t the best idea.
The app had many glitches with one caucus chair telling CNN “a “glitch” made it so that only the left side of his iPad keyboard popped up, meaning he could only type numbers and letters on the left.”
The frustrations of the app opened doors to new conversations about whether or not the Iowa caucuses are necessary.
Some argue that since Iowa’s population is predominately white, the system can’t clearly express the views of people of different races or ethnicities.
No matter what happens in Iowa, the caucuses won’t stop there. They also take place in Nevada, South Carolina, and New Hampshire, which is the next state to caucus.
Wednesday morning the Democrats in control of the caucuses released the “partial results” which put Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the lead with 27% of the votes. Senator Sanders followed closely behind him with 25% of the votes, Senator Warren received 18% of the votes, and Vice President Biden received 16% of the votes.
These were only partial results, with more results to follow in the upcoming days.