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Will delay in results put an end to Iowa caucuses?

 Iowa State University
4-Feb-2020 5:05 PM EST, by Iowa State University

Newswise — AMES, Iowa – Karen Kedrowski, director of Iowa State University’s Catt Center for Women and Politics, says Iowa must justify its first-in-the-nation status every four years and the delay in results won’t help.  

“Detractors assert that Iowa is too old, too rural, too white and too agricultural to play such a crucial role in the presidential nomination process. Now they can point to this debacle as another reason Iowa should not go first: Iowa is simply in over its head.”

Kedrowski says Iowa’s influence historically has come from the momentum caucus winners receive from positive media attention, fundraising, endorsements and more.

“The winner or winners of the Iowa caucuses, whether by achieving a plurality of votes or by beating expectations, will not enjoy the same boost. Instead, their momentum will be diluted by this controversy and their names will always have an asterisk next to them, indicating that there was some controversy attached.”

Dave Peterson, professor of political science, says the delays may be a sign of what’s to come in November.  

“While there have clearly been errors, it is important to recognize they were made out of caution not malice. The Iowa Democratic Party is making a good faith effort to make sure there is an accurate count of the preferences of Iowa Democrats. Unfortunately, there is a tradeoff between accuracy and speed. The party’s commitment to transparency is the reason why it’s taking such care to not make a mistake.

“It is important for Americans to realize that we may very well be in the same position in November.  Arizona took a week to call it Senate race in 2018.  If that is the decisive state in the Electoral College, we could have a similar wait in 2020 with much higher stakes.  All of us need to go into that election expecting that we will not know the winner on election night.  The sanctity of our elections and our democracy depend on us valuing a correct count of the will of the voters more than an expediency.”

Iowa State University News Service has a broadcast studio on campus for live interviews. Please contact Dave Olson (515-294-5992, dlolson@iastate.edu) to make arrangements. 

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