Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were still locked in a dead tie for the Iowa caucus at midnight. The race was so close that some precincts apparently pulled out a rare Iowa caucus quirk to call a winner: the coin flip.
— Andrew Tadlock (@andytadlock) February 2, 2016
At least two precincts, one in Des Moines and one in Davenport, decided to resolve the caucus with a coin toss when their attendees were deadlocked. Hillary Clinton won both.
— Fernando Peinado (@FernandoPeinado) February 2, 2016
Other precincts may also have resorted to the coin toss:
I’ve come across three instances in which a Democratic caucus delegate was awarded with a coin toss. Hillary Clinton won all three.
— Jason Noble (@jasonnobleDMR) February 2, 2016
Caucusgoers weren’t simply frustrated or inspired to decide the results with a coin toss. The caucus rules actually call for a coin toss or picking a name out of a hat in the event of a tie. Democratic Party officials reportedly recommended the coin toss to one deadlocked caucus in Ames Monday night that called the official hotline for help.
The coin toss is one of many oddities of the Iowa caucuses. Though initial reports noted turnout was up from past years, the caucuses have some anti-democratic fixtures. Many working Iowans cannot caucus because they can’t get out of work in time for the mandatory 7 p.m. deadline. The Democratic caucus also weights certain precincts’ results differently based on their past voting records.