The Republican Party of Iowa says it has no reason to doubt the accuracy of results it reported from the state’s first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses despite a claim of an error that would change the outcome.
The final vote count reported Tuesday gave former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney an eight vote victory over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The Iowa GOP reported Romney edged Santorum in a see-saw battle by 30,015 to 30,007.
Since then, however, a Moulton man has called those results into dispute.
Edward L. True has filed a notarized statement claiming Santorum is the real winner and that there was an error in the caucus results from Appanoose County.
According to True, the number of votes Romney received from Washington Wells Precinct were inflated by 20 when recorded by the state GOP.
True, who said he hopes the discrepancy is a simple mistake, reportedly helped count the votes and kept a record of the outcome to post to Ron Paul Facebook pages. He said he noticed the error when he looked at the state GOP website.
If his claim is accurate, then Santorum was the winner with 30,007 votes to Romney’s 29,995 rather than 30,015.
Late last night, The Gazette received a report of a discrepancy in the vote totals that were reported in the Illyria and Westfield townships in Fayette County. The report could not immediately be verified.
The results of voting at the Iowa GOP’s 1,774 precinct caucuses are being certified, according to Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn. That process could take two weeks.
“Out of respect to the candidates involved, party officials will not respond to every rumor, innuendo or allegation during the two-week process,” Strawn said in a statement issued Thursday. “That said, Iowa GOP officials have been in contact with Appanoose County Republican officials tonight and do not have any reason to believe the final, certified results of Appanoose County will change the outcome of Tuesday’s vote.”
If True’s claim is accurate and upheld by the certification process, the error changes very little in terms of the race for the Republican presidential nomination beyond bragging rights.
In a statement to Fox News, Santorum downplayed the impact of any error and suggested it’s the results of the next contest that will matter.
“It doesn’t really matter to me. It was a tie,” Santorum said. “We came from, you know, four or five points two weeks before the election. And ended up with 25 points … So I look at it this way — let’s see what the polls look like in New Hampshire here.”
Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford told Des Moines television station KCCI that any discrepancy in the votes “will make Iowa look a little foolish in the eyes of the rest of the country which already questions the seriousness of the caucuses.”
“But in terms of Santorum’s results here, the caucuses have made him a player in presidential politics and if he should nudge ahead of Gov. Romney for the final certified result that’s really not going to make any significant difference at this point,” Goldford said.
The Iowa Republican Party concedes precinct leaders have wide latitude in how votes are cast and counted. Almost as soon as caucuses were adjourned Tuesday, there was discussion about the various methods used to cast and
count ballots in the non-binding straw poll of caucusgoers’ preference for a nominee.