In at least three Democratic precincts in the Iowa caucus, a delegate was awarded to candidates with a coin toss.
It happened in precinct 2-4 in Ames, where supporters of candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton disputed the results after 60 caucus participants apparently disappeared from the proceedings.
As a result a coin toss took place and a Clinton supporter correctly called “heads” on a 25 cent coin flipped in the air, and she was awarded an additional delegate, meaning she took five of the precinct’s eight, while Sanders received three.
One of those coin tosses was in precinct 2-4, in Ames. David Schweingruber, an associate professor of sociology at Iowa State University, relayed what happened to the Des Moines Register:
“A total of 484 eligible caucus attendees were initially recorded at the site. But when each candidate’s preference group was counted, Clinton had 240 supporters, Sanders had 179 and Martin O’Malley had five (causing him to be declared non-viable).
Those figures add up to just 424 participants, leaving 60 apparently missing. When those numbers were plugged into the formula that determines delegate allocations, Clinton received four delegates and Sanders received three—leaving one delegate unassigned.”
Similar situations were reported elsewhere, including at a precinct in Des Moines, at another precinct in Des Moines, in Newton, in West Branch and in Davenport. In all five situations, Clinton won the toss.
So did it have a major impact?
Not really. “I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding out there about what exactly is being decided with a coin flip,” American reporter Jason Noble tweeted. “The statewide delegates ARE NOT the same delegates that are decided with a coin flip. The coin flips are deciding single delegates at precincts where as many as 8 delegates are awarded. The statewide delegates are different.”