Comment: the Story County story

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the Story County story

I was the Chairman of my Caucus. In Story County, the party printed actual ballots with candidate names on them. We held them closely at the registration table, and as each person registered, we handed them a ballot, rather than pass a bunch of ballots around the room. If a person registered, they had a ballot. When I began the meeting, I even asked if everyone had a ballot. Who's the person that misplaced theirs? Me.

Due to the "super-secret" tabulating process this year, 4 people were designated as a point-of-contact for approximately 10 precincts to call in their official results. These 4 designates (including myself) were to gather after the close of our Caucus meeting, and enter our compiled results into the State GOP's reporting website--they were worried about Anonymous taking an interest in hacking the results, so they used a website, instead of phoning in the results as in years past. Makes no sense to me (an IT-guy) but I digress.

Due to the need for security, we weren't allowed to record the results and enter them via a WiFi connection, so we gathered together at a single location with a wired connection. I was late because in addition to being a Point-of-Contact, I'm chairing the meeting, and constantly being interrupted everytime someone calls me with precinct results. We debated a number of Platform Planks (around 20), and didn't conclude until about 10pm. (When Fox News reported a "white truck" driving around Story County with the results, they were likely talking about me, but I don't drive a truck. In fact, I was sitting in front of the TV when we heard the story, while we were entering my results.)

The person who then entered the results for my 10 precincts accidentally skipped a line, and reported the same precinct twice. At that point, Ron Paul appeared to be the winner in Story County.

I/We took the additional step of creating a separate spreadsheet to record and calculate our hand-written tally sheets to compare to our online results. We found discrepancies--due to illegible handwriting, figures scribbled out, etc. Once those errors were accounted for and corrected, we reviewed the counts for each precinct, when we discovered one precinct was double-reported. We then had to contact "Tech Support" in order to get them to correct the results.

While the numbers were in fact corrected prior to the official announcement of results, they still were not reflected on the website--very slow, very poor performance, and if you've looked through the results, it's difficult to follow as you can't freeze your row/column headers to know what the rows/columns represent when you scroll to the side, bottom, etc.

In spite of checking our work, I still showed a discrepancy of a single vote--1 more vote for Santorum than is represented on the website. Every precinct filled out a form that gets filed with the Republican Party of Iowa, and is used to certify the vote. I have no concerns regarding any vote fraud, as we have 1774 precincts reporting--each with a Chairman and Secretary who signed off on the results, plus each of the 99 counties get copies of the same form, plus the campaign observers who watched the vote in various precincts. I have no doubt that the final tallies will change (follow the results from Appanoose County) and that Santorum may well be the winner--but the Iowa Caucus is not a winner-take-all event, nor are the delegates bound, as the Caucus took place prior to Feb. 1.