Nevada Democrats say they won’t use the app involved in Iowa debacle

Caucus participants arrive to register in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. February 3, 2020.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

The Nevada Democratic Party said on Tuesday that they will not use the app involved in the disastrous Iowa caucuses for their Feb. 22 election contest after reports showed that the party had paid the technology firm behind it nearly $60,000 last year.

“NV Dems can confidently say that what happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada on February 22nd,” state party chair William McCurdy said in a statement. “We will not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus.”

McCurdy said the party had “already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward.”

The app used in the Iowa caucuses was developed by the progressive tech firm Shadow Inc., which is managed by a nonprofit investment company called Acronym. Acronym sought to distance itself from the debacle, issuing a statement saying that “we, like everyone else, are eagerly awaiting more information.” 

Read more: Iowa caucus debacle is one of the most stunning tech failures ever

Election officials detected irregularities in voting data during the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Monday which required them to switch to counting votes manually.

The issue delayed the reporting of the first results of the Democratic presidential primary, sowing confusion about the state of the closely fought race and earning the ire of the major contenders, who all projected confidence in election night speeches despite the dearth of official data.

The Iowa Democratic Party said Tuesday that a majority of the results will be released by 5 p.m. ET. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the race’s national front-runner, has called on the party to allow candidates to review the quality control measures that are being implemented “before any official results are released.” 

Ahead of the caucuses, concerns about the app were already mounting, compounding criticism of a primary process that for decades has given outsized influence to a relatively homogeneous state with a population just north of 3 million people. 

In August, the Democratic National Committee recommended Iowa and Nevada scrap the mobile-based vote process.

The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee voted to follow those recommendations. It said a security review had determined the app did not meet standards for cybersecurity and reliability.

DHS acting Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News on Tuesday that the app “was not vetted for cybersecurity.” But despite those concerns, both states pushed forward with the using the application.

The parties in those states were largely silent in the run-up to the Iowa caucus about who developed the app.

Microsoft had previously designed a voting app used in Iowa in 2016, but the company did not have a hand in creating the 2020 app, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC.

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