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Local experts say repeat of Iowa caucus issues unlikely in Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The technology issues that caused Iowa caucus results to be delayed should not happen in Missouri's upcoming primary election, experts told ABC 17 News on Friday.

Missouri Republicans and Democrats are both set to hold their primary elections on March 10.

"The Iowa caucus' voting error was not foreign interference," said Terry Smith, a Columbia College political science professor. "It was someone trying to use technology that wasn't ready."

The Democratic and Republican primaries are held on the same day in Missouri but the Republican primary is a winner-take-all event while Democratic delegates are awarded proportionally. 

"Democrats do whatever percentage of whatever the popular vote that you get in the primary," Smith said. "You get a percentage of the state's delegates to the national nominating convention."

Iowa and Missouri differ in the way their citizens vote. In a caucus voters gather in public places and cast their votes, unlike Missouri's primary using secret ballots in a booth and where the results of the vote are reported to the county clerks. 

"We make sure that we've got a secure chain of custody," Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon said. "We make sure that nothing's connected to the internet and that we have paper ballots to make sure that we can validate everybody's votes."

Missouri voters should not compare what happened at the Iowa caucus to the upcoming primary election, Lennon said. 

"When we're finalizing the election after election day we do a hand count of a random sample of precincts to make sure that our results match up and once that's validated then we certify the election," Lennon said.

Smith said the Missouri Democratic race could be close. After Super Tuesday, voters should have a better idea of what to expect because other state primaries will be held before Missouri’s. Super Tuesday is the name given to the day when several states vote early in the primary season. This year it falls on March 3.

The last day to register for the Missouri presidential primary is Wednesday.

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Amber Tabeling

Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.

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