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Bernie Sanders' campaign to request recount of Iowa caucuses

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign plans to ask for a partial recount of the Iowa caucus results after the state Democratic Party releases the results of its recanvass.

Sanders campaign senior adviser Jeff Weaver told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that the campaign has had a representative in contact with the Iowa Democratic Party throughout the recanvass process. "Based on what we understand to be the results, we intend to ask for a recount," he said.

The campaign expects that the already slim margin separating Sanders from Pete Buttigieg for the lead in Iowa will remain small enough that a recount would make a difference in the outcome.

The caucuses were roiled by significant issues in collecting and reporting data from individual precincts on caucus night. There were also errors in the complicated mathematical equations used to calculate the results in individual caucus sites that became evident as the party began to release caucus data throughout the week.

The AP reviewed the last reported results of the Iowa caucuses and decided that it remains unable to declare a winner based on the available information. The results, the AP says, may not be fully accurate and are still subject to potential revision.

In a recanvass, the Iowa Democratic Party would only update their reported results; they would not correct errors in the math, and party officials have said publicly that the only opportunity to correct the math would be a recount.

In a recount, party officials use the preference cards that caucusgoers filled out outlining their first and second choices in the room on caucus night and rerun all the math in each individual precinct.

The Iowa Democratic Party states in its Recount and Recanvass manual that "only evidence suggesting errors that would change the allocation of one or more National Delegates will be considered an adequate justification for a recount." That means the errors must be significant enough to change the outcome of the overall caucus.

Iowa awards 41 national delegates in its caucuses. As it stands, Buttigieg has 13 and Sanders has 12. Trailing behind are Elizabeth Warren with eight, Joe Biden with six and Amy Klobuchar with one.

The 41st and final delegate from Iowa will go to the overall winner. The caucus won’t formally come to an end until the recount is completed.

In its recanvass request, the Sanders campaign outlined 25 precincts and three satellite caucuses where it believes correcting faulty math could swing the delegate allocation in Sanders’ favor and deliver him, not Buttigieg, that final delegate.

Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”