Raw C-SPAN2 video of the Democrat caucus in Polk County, Iowa has raised doubts about the accuracy of the count in the nation’s first look at how the voters feel about the candidates who are seeking their party’s nomination to succeed Barack Obama.

The small, largely agrarian middle-America state has dominated the news for the past several months as Iowans met to cast “show of hands” votes for the three Democrats who have entered the race – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Governor Martin O’Malley and campaigned throughout the largely rural state for the better part of the past year in what resembles more of a town hall than a balloting venue.

At stake are the state’s delegates who will cast their votes at the parties’ conventions this summer, which amount to only 1 percent of the national delegates.

As much as Iowa might enjoy the limelight ever four years, in fact its role in the decision-making process of national presidential elections may be more a matter of perception than reality – Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan all lost the Iowa caucuses for their party, while Tom Harkin, Dick Gephardt, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum were past winners.

Still, members of Hillary Clinton’s Iowa campaign on the ground in Polk County, home to the state capital of Des Moines and the site of many colleges and universities, appear to have deliberately miscounted the votes and mislead caucus-goers to ensure a victory, albeit a miniscule one, for the veteran politician who is facing an unexpected and unexpectedly strong challenge from the feisty Socialist senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

Sanders entered the race when Clinton was viewed by the party, and much of the nation, as the inevitable nominee, and for much of the past months, she has held a commanding lead, initially a 50 point advantage, over the previously unknown senator, but he has risen steadily on the support of enthusiastic younger voters.

Some of those younger voters are seen on the C-SPAN2 video questioning the vote count at the Polk County caucus on Monday night as the county chair, Drew Gentsch, is seen with precinct captain, Elizabeth Buck, adding, re-adding and then mis-stating the “show of hands” count at Precinct #43, raising allegations of voter fraud.

In the video, supporters of Sen. Sanders are seen and heard requesting a recount at the caucus held at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, the state capital, after more people entered the gymnasium and voted, which threw the initial tally off by three votes. Getntsch’s math changes the totals, initially favoring Sanders, to a result giving Clinton 14 more votes and while he announces the request for a recount, he tells the assembled caucus-goers that it will “not make a difference” in the final result. Unsurprisingly, the request for a recount failed to muster a majority in the “show of hands” vote.

The Clinton organization may also have made its presence felt at six precincts throughout the state where the rules call for a coin toss to determine the result in cases of a deadlock. In all six instances, including two in the state capital of Des Moines, Clinton won the toss where the vote hung in the balance.

The odds of winning six straight coin flips is 1 in 64 tosses.


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