Politics

A Coin Toss Was Actually Used To Decide Some Iowa Ties Between Clinton And Sanders

Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by a coin toss in at least six Iowa precincts Monday night.

1. The Iowa Democratic caucus race between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was incredibly close Monday night. So close, that in some cases a coin flip was actually used to decide which candidate would win a county delegate.

Patrick Semansky / AP

Patrick Semansky / AP

 

In at least six precincts across Iowa Monday, Democratic caucus votes ended in a tie, forcing a coin toss.

3. The state’s official rules for Democratic caucuses allow for a coin toss to decide a winner in case of a tie.

4. In a video posted by Univision reporter Fernando Peinado, a coin toss was used to break a tie in Des Moines. Clinton won the toss on a supporter’s “tails” call.


“So our official delegate for this precinct is Hillary Clinton. It was very, very close. Remember this is a caucus, it was very, very close. It was called by a coin toss,” said Lisa Carlson, who is a Sanders supporter.

As FiveThirtyEight points out, a delegate awarded on a coin toss is only for a county — not a statewide delegate which carries greater importance.

5. A coin toss was reported to have broken ties in precincts in Ames, Davenport, West Branch, Newton, and another in Des Moines. In every toss, Clinton won an additional county delegate.

Proof of a coin toss at Des Moines East High School. Landed heads and Hillary won the extra delegate. #IowaCaucus

— Sage Rosenfels (@SageRosenfels18)

@tripgabriel Same situation, same result in West Branch.

— Julia LaBua (@JLaBua)

8. In at least one precinct, a coin toss favored Bernie.

Sanders wins with coin toss in Bettendorf #IowaCaucus

— s. kraft sheley (@kraftsheley)

Stephanie Kraft, a graduate student at the University of Iowa who was present at the Democratic caucus in Precinct B31, told BuzzFeed News that the precinct chair decided to call for a coin toss after determining that two Clinton supporters had showed up too late to participate in the caucus.

“The Clinton supporters were upset,” Kraft said, noting that the caucus had been tied 114-114.

As of Tuesday morning, Clinton held a very slight lead over Sanders statewide, with just 0.3% of the vote separating the two.

In a speech after the caucuses, Clinton did not declare victory, but said she was “breathing a big sigh of relief.” Sanders said in his speech that the two were “virtually tied.”

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Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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