Jan 18, 2020

Democrats in Iowa, Nevada to use app for caucus results despite hacking fears

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Iowa and Nevada — two of the first three states to vote in the Democratic presidential race — plan to use new mobile apps to collect results from thousands of caucus sites, AP reports.

Why it matters: The technology is aimed at making it easier to count, but raises concerns of hacking or possible glitches.

How it works: Activists in both states will use programs downloaded to their personal mobile devices to report caucus results to state headquarters.

  • That data will be used to announce unofficial winners.
  • Paper records will then be used to certify the results.

Democrats are moving forward with the technology despite warnings that foreign hackers could target the 2020 race in an attempt to sow chaos and undermine American democracy.

  • Party officials explain they are cognizant of possible threats and taking security precautions. Errors, they say, will be easily correctable because of backups.

In both Iowa and Nevada, party officials declined to identify the vendor that developed their apps, saying they did not want to create a potential target for hackers.

Go deeper: In policy shift, FBI will now notify state officials about election hacking

Go deeper

Anxieties over Nevada caucuses mount following Iowa chaos

Nevada voters during the 2018 midterm elections. Photo: Mikayla Whitmore/The Washington Post via Getty Images

There are growing concerns that the Feb. 22 Nevada caucuses could be a repeat of the chaos that hit Iowa's caucus process earlier this month, AP reports.

What's happening: Election volunteers in the state have yet to receive training for the iPads they will use on caucus day — or specific details about what the process' electronic "Caucus Tool" is and how it will ultimately be used.

Finger pointing continues over Iowa app fiasco

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's been two days since app problems delayed returns and cast a stain on the Iowa caucus, but the blame game continues.

Why it matters: So far, two things seem pretty clear. It's not a good idea to rely on an app as the primary means of tabulating election results, and the app used in Iowa was also pretty bad.

Iowa's hanging chads

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The stakes aren't quite the same, but the Iowa Caucuses are increasingly looking like Florida 2000.

Why it matters: Apps are the new hanging chads, and good luck convincing people to vote with apps after what they saw play out this week.