Iowa's Democratic Party officials said they plan to release the "majority" of the results of its presidential caucus by 5 p.m. ET Tuesday, after an embarrassing technology glitch involving a mobile app prevented a winner in the contest being announced Monday night.
Troy Price, the Iowa Democratic chairman, told campaign staffers during a conference call that more than 50 percent of the entire state's caucus results would be released. The party will later "continue to release the results as we are able to" as it gathers remaining documents and data, spokeswoman Mandy McClure said.
The delay in issuing complete results is sure to fuel the furor surrounding Iowa's botched caucus, and already had allowed several campaigns to suggest, in the absence of official numbers, that they had performed strongly.
The call came as a number of political observers said it was time to scrap Iowa's unusual caucus system, and its status as the first-in-the nation site for the presidential selection process.
Earlier Tuesday, the party said that there was no evidence that hackers caused the technology meltdown that has led to the unprecedented delay in releasing the eagerly awaited results.
The party also said paper ballots would be used to verify any results reported electronically.
"We have every indication that our systems were secure and there was not a cyber security intrusion," the party said.
The party said that the results from tens of thousands of voters were delayed after an "accuracy and quality check" revealed "there were inconsistencies with the reports" of results from precinct caucuses compared with results on a new app that also was being used to record the outcomes from each precinct.
"As part of our investigation, we determined with certainty that the underlying data collected via the app was sound," the party said.
"While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data."
"We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system," the party said.
"This issue was identified and fixed. The application's reporting issue did not impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately."
In the absence of official results, Democratic presidential hopefuls took the chance to tout their performances to supporters.
Pete Buttigieg went as far as to declare himself the night's winner as he looked ahead to the Feb. 11 New Hampshire primary.
"By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious," the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor said.
But Buttigieg also called the glitch "frustrating."
Speaking to reporters Tuesday before he left for New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders said "we're not declaring victory" before the party releases results. He said he was "disappointed" in the Iowa Democratic Party's ability to put together numbers, but said he would not "cast aspersions" on their accuracy.
In an email to supporters, the campaign manager for Sanders, a Vermont independent, said, "Last night was a bad night for democracy, for the Democratic Party, and for the people of Iowa."
"It is simply unacceptable that the Iowa Democratic Party cannot release votes in a timely way, so we will continue to update you with our numbers as we await a final, official result," wrote the campaign chief, Faiz Shakir.
"But again, we feel very good about where we are right now, and you should too."
All of the other leading contenders heading into Monday's caucuses — former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. — talked up their Iowa showings before they started to make their way to New Hampshire.
Some campaigns characterized the state of the race based on internal tallies — which offer one snapshot of the race but can favor the candidate releasing the numbers.
The Sanders campaign released its internal figures Tuesday with 60% of precincts counted. It said Sanders led with nearly 30% of support after realignment of caucus groups, followed by Buttigieg, Warren, Biden and Klobuchar.
Meanwhile, the Buttigieg campaign said its internal numbers for about 75% of precincts showed the former mayor winning 28% of state delegate equivalents. It did not compare his performance to other candidates.
At an event in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Warren characterized the caucuses as a "tight three-way race."
Waren presumably meant she, Sanders and Buttigieg were competing for first, based on comments her campaign manager Roger Lau made Monday night.
A promising finish in Iowa can bring needed fundraising and legitimacy for campaigns looking to make inroads elsewhere.
President Donald Trump posted a series of tweets about the problems with the Iowa caucus but also defended the state's tradition of being the first contest of the quadrennial election cycle.
Iowa's governor, Kim Reynolds, and its two senators, Republicans Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, jointly issued a statement defending Iowa's status of holding the first nomination event.
"Iowa's bipartisan first-in-the-nation status helped lead to the nomination of President Obama and has the full backing of President Trump," the GOP trio said. "The process is not suffering because of a short delay in knowing the final results."
But Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said, "I think the Democratic Caucus in Iowa is a quirky, quaint tradition, which should come to an end."
"As we try to make voting easier for people across America, the Iowa caucus is the most painful situation we currently face for voting," Durbin said.
"People who work all day, pick up the kids at day care, do you think they're headed to the caucus next? Of course not. We've got to have a means for people to express themselves that is reliable, unfortunately the caucus system is not."
"I love my neighbors in Iowa, and I've campaigned with them and respect them very much for their commitment to the party," Durbin said.
"But the state of Iowa does not reflect our party, and the fact that we're putting so many chips on the table in Iowa, here we are the morning after, with Iowa caucus turning out to be one big political asterisk, and that is not a good outcome by any means."