MASON CITY, Iowa — Election officials were mystified Thursday as to how Iowa caucus results from two northern Iowa counties were not accounted for in the certified results.
State Republican Party officials announced the certified results of the Jan. 3 caucuses that showed former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with a 34-vote edge over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Original results showed Romney as the winner by eight votes.
State party officials said they did not have totals from eight precincts, including ward 2, precinct 3 in northwest Mason City and Geneva/Reeve in Franklin County.
John Rowe, Cerro Gordo County Republican chairman, said he did not know how the Mason City precinct totals were missing and didn’t want to point any fingers.
“What is missing is Form E, which is a signed copy of the vote totals that were phoned in on caucus night,” he said.
“I sent in a foot-tall box full of forms from Cerro Gordo County for certification,” Rowe said. “There were two Form As, Form B, Form C, Form D and Form E from each precinct, and there was other required paperwork as well. Out of all the forms we were required to send in, Form E is the only one that wasn’t in triplicate.
“It’s unfortunate. It was probably a human error on one end or the other. I don’t like it being described as a ‘missing precinct.’ This was a very transparent process.”
Rowe said there are more than 1,700 precincts in the state and only eight were unaccounted for in the final tabulation.
“If my son took a physics test and got 99 percent, we’d be slapping him on the back,” he said.
Karen Zander, Republican chairwoman in Franklin County, said she doesn’t know how one of her precincts was unaccounted for. She said there were 19 voters in the precinct.
Bill Schickel of Mason City, vice chairman of the state Republican Party, agreed.
“The precinct totals would not have changed the outcome of the election,” he said. “This is a volunteer, grassroots-driven process. I feel badly that some precinct results were not certified. There is no perfect election. But having eight precincts uncertified out of more than 1,700 is a better certification rate than ever before.
“We’re not perfect. But this wasn’t anything like other states have had, like the ‘dangling chads’ in Florida.”