A coin toss was used to decide whether Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders won at six precincts in the Iowa caucus. 

Ms Clinton won six county delegates through coin tosses in Newton, Ames, West Branch and Davenport, as well as two precints in Des Moines, the Des Moines Register reported.

Under Iowa's Democratic caucus guide, ties between two or more candidates can be determined by a coin toss.

The guide states: "Note: In a case where two or more preference groups are tied for the loss of a delegate, a coin shall be tossed to determine who loses the delegate."

Many expressed their surprise at the fact a coin toss was used to decide the ties: 

As the Des Moines Register explains, precinct 2-4 in Ames held a coin toss because the preference group counts left one delegate unassigned. 

Unable to account for the orphan deligate, the Sanders campaign challenged the results and precinct leaders called a Democratic Party helpline for advice. 

Party officials recommended they settle the dispute with a coin toss.

Politics website FiveThirtyEight points out a delegate awarded a coin toss is only for a county and does not carry the greater importance of a state-wide delegate.

Speaking after the caucuses, Bernie Sanders said he and Ms Clinton were "in a virtual tie".

For the latest on the Iowa caucus, follow our liveblog.

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