Early in the evening, entrance polls showed Donald Trump with the lead in Iowa. There was also high turnout, which would seem to indicate a Trump advantage, as these polls showed he was winning decisively among first time voters.
The first thing to be considered is the unexpected Rubio surge. Before the vote was cast, several commentators expressed concern that Microsoft, a Rubio backer, was counting the votes. These concerns were dismissed by the Main Stream Media, because readers were assured "[R]ecent polls have Rubio up a little, but still trailing Donald Trump and Ted Cruz by several points." [Inside the conspiracy theory that Microsoft has rigged the Iowa caucuses for Marco Rubio, by Ethan Chiel, Fusion, February 1, 2016] Well, we know how that turned out.
Is there any proof other than the massive disparity between what the polls showed and the actual results, including Rubio winning counties? No, and how could there be? And it's very possible late deciding voters (and there were many) simply broke for Rubio and Trump's support had a ceiling.
Still, why is a company with a concrete interest in the election tallying the votes, especially when they are providing a product that by some accounts, didn't even function properly? [Microsoft app used to tally votes at Iowa caucus fails in some areas, by Elizabeth Weise, USA Today, February 2, 2016]
However, there are other allegations with more documentation. One is that Ted Cruz used dirty tactics by telling evangelical voters to support him because Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. And the source for this isn't an anonymous message board, but the Carson campaign.
Ben Carson on Monday night accused his opponents of conducting "dirty tricks" directed at his campaign and after the results from the Iowa caucus came in, spreading the false rumor that he had suspended his campaign.Carson specifically blamed Cruz and called for him to fire those responsible.
Carson made the claim in an email to supporters after Sen. Ted Cruz was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses. Carson came in fourth with 9.3 percent of the vote, behind Cruz, Donald Trump, and Sen. Marco Rubio.
"For months, my campaign has survived the lies and dirty tricks from opponents who profess to to detest the games of the political class, but in reality are masters at it," Carson said in the email. "Even tonight, my opponents resorted to political tricks by tweeting, texting and telling precinct captains to announce that I had suspended my campaign - in some cases asking caucus goers to change their votes."
Carson went on to say he partially decided to run for president "to stop these deceptive and destructive practices, and these reports have only further steeled my resolve to continue and fight for 'We The People,' and return control of the government back to them."
[Carson accuses opponents of 'lies and dirty tricks,' by Daniel Strauss, Politico, February 2, 2016]
“If Ted Cruz doesn’t know about this, then he clearly needs to very quickly get rid of some people in his organization,” Carson told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday. “And if he does know about it, isn’t this the exact kind of thing that the American people are tired of? Why would we want to continue that kind of, you know, shenanigans?”Somehow I doubt that's going to happen.
[Carson calls for Cruz camp dismissals after cheating allegations, by Nolan McCaskill, Politico, February 2, 2016]
Several allegations of voter fraud are being reported in Iowa, especially on the Democratic side. There are reports of missing results and improper methods used to record votes [Dems Missing Results in Some Precincts, Sanders Hopes for 'Honest' Count, by Cathy Bruke, Newsmax, February 2, 2016] But some Republicans also reported absolute chaos.
The bottom line is that the election system is a mess. When votes are this close, we really have no idea who actually won. And the idea that Microsoft has any role in reporting the vote tallies is completely insane.