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Some Democratic precincts resort to coin flips to break ties

POWER COUPLE  Former US President Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton  AP

POWER COUPLE Former US President Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton AP

DES MOINES, Iowa—How close was the Iowa race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders?

Democrats flipped coins in some precincts to determine how to award an extra county delegate to either Clinton or Sanders, a rare but longstanding procedure to break ties.

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Party rules call for a coin flip when support for candidates is even but a precinct has an odd number of delegates to award.

The Des Moines Register reported that Clinton won coin tosses at precincts in Davenport and Des Moines.

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The newspaper said party officials ordered another coin flip to decide a dispute between the campaigns at an Ames precinct. Clinton won that toss, too.

The Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson, Sam Lau, noted that the coin flips were to determine county convention delegates, which were only fractions of the state delegates awarded to candidates.

Iowa Democratic Party officials said they were gathering results from a small number of precincts where those in charge had failed to report results in Monday’s caucuses.

The Polk County Democratic Party chair, Tom Henderson, said he was frustrated that some precincts in his county had failed to report results in a timely fashion.

STRONG PERFORMANCE  Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, arrives for a caucus night rally in  Iowa. AP

STRONG PERFORMANCE Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, arrives for a caucus night rally in Iowa. AP

By midnight, Henderson said he had tracked down results from 166 of the 167 precincts in the state’s largest county and that someone had been sent to knock on the door of the chair of the last outstanding precinct.

“I’m frustrated because we do things better than that,” he said.

But he added, “This is a situation where we have an election that is a near tie. We want to make sure it’s accurate.” AP

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