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January 19, 2012 05:21 PM

IA Voters: Caucus Error Can Happen Anywhere

Rock Rapids, IA


After a final recount, Rick Santorum edges out front-runner Mitt Romney by just 34 votes in the Iowa caucus.

Initially, Mitt Romney was said to have won the caucus by just eight votes. But after a recount and with results from eight precincts still missing, state GOP officials say Santorum actually came out on top.

"I kind of heard rumors before and wasn't so surprised when I heard it. And I was actually happy it did," Alvin Runia said.

Santorum won the Rock Rapids area in the January 3 caucus. And while that isn't disputed, eight other precincts lost data while many more needed to be recounted.

Cody Hoefert ran the caucus in Rock Rapids and is helping with the campaign in South Carolina.

"One of the vote swings occurred in a precinct where the number was accidentally keyed in wrong. Twenty-two votes were keyed in for Governor Romney when it should have been two votes. That is a very simple error on keying in votes that was corrected in the recount process," Hoefert said.

Some national critics are looking down on the Iowa caucus chaos, but voters in the state say human error can happen anywhere.

"Everybody does their best job that they can possibly do on the night, but there is a big hurry to get the results in," Kenneth Mellema said.

"Anytime humans are involved there is going to be errors and maybe that leads to the rest of the country looking at their system and the way they're doing things," Rita Janssen said.

"The reason this is such a big deal is because it altered the winner, but a 42 vote swing out of 1,774 precincts proves this process works," Hoefert said.

Despite the mistakes and national attention, it's a process these voters stand behind.

"If it is that close, it is basically a tie, is what it amounts to," Runia said.

And despite Santorum edging out Romney, the Iowa Republican Chairman will not name an official winner of the Iowa caucus and is declaring a tie.
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