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Iowa vote count errors claimed, but downplayed

DES MOINES, Iowa - Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum shrugged off reports late Thursday that the vote count from Iowa's caucuses might be wrong, saying the errors appear not to change the fact that he and Mitt Romney were nearly tied.

Santorum told Fox News that Iowa's Republican Party chairman, Matt Strawn, informed him of two cases in which errors were reported in the count from Tuesday night. Taken together, Santorum said, the changes would almost cancel out each other and that Romney would win by nine votes instead of eight.

"That doesn't really matter to me," he said. "This was a tie."

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Strawn said in a statement that party officials would not respond to "every rumor, innuendo or allegation" as it certifies results during a two-week certification process. Romney and Santorum each had just over 30,000 votes out of more than 122,000 votes cast.

Strawn said state party officials had been in contact with GOP officials in Appanoose County but that officials "do not have any reason to believe the final, certified results of Appanoose County will change the outcome of Tuesday's vote."

Des Moines TV station KCCI reported that a Ron Paul backer attending his first precinct caucuses in Appanoose County, in southern Iowa, said the vote from his precinct was inaccurately reported and gave Romney 20 more votes than he actually received.

Complete Iowa results

The Paul supporter, Edward True of Moulton, told The Associated Press that he helped count the ballots cast at his precinct caucuses and that Romney received two votes. True said he was shocked to see the official results on the Republican Party website showed Romney with 22 votes in the precinct.

"I assume somebody made a typographical error," he said in a telephone interview.

True said that when he contacted local Republican officials, "They said they would sort it out in the next couple of weeks, but how many primaries will have happened by that time?"