At one point on live on CNN, a precinct official from Story County, Iowa was detailing how he had been on hold for so long - when suddenly the phone line was answered - and then, the Iowa Democratic Party hung up on the official, Shawn Sebastian.
"They hung up on me," he said to a bewildered CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.
With no numbers, the candidates started making statements to supporters - unable to capitalize on a good performance, or alternately, able to get away without reporters seeing the tears of crushed supporters.
The lack of vote totals also left the Democratic field in an odd limbo as they left for New Hampshire - where a victory in Iowa can mean an automatic boost, while a bad performance could also raise questions about the viability of a campaign.
But the lack of numbers didn't deter some like Pete Buttigieg, who all but declared victory in a speech which took place after midnight.
The election chaos - under the auspices of the Iowa Democratic Party - again raised the question of whether the Hawkeye State should maintain its place on top of the election calendar.
"At least I got to see history being made tonight in the demise of the Iowa caucus," said Michael McDonald, an elections expert at the University of Florida.