Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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.

Recap: The Iowa Democratic Party commissioned a mobile app to convey results of local caucuses to the state Democratic Party. Finding issues with the app, many precincts chose to phone in results instead, but the party didn't have enough staff to handle those reports, delaying the results.

The big picture: The problems in Iowa come at a particularly tough time. The U.S. is already struggling to bolster the stability and reliability of its elections, which are under stress from extreme partisanship, the spread of conspiracy theories on social media, and the still-fresh memories of Russian meddling in the 2016 contest.

Security is essential to election technology, but it's not the only thing. Voting systems, whether paper or digital, also need to be straightforward, transparent and auditable, Axios' Scott Rosenberg reports.

  • Despite advances in technology, paper is seen as the gold standard because it offers all three.,
  • But, if you are going to use technology, you want to make sure it is thoroughly tested and proven reliable. The app used in Iowa, made by a startup called Shadow, was neither.
  • In fact, according to reports, it was buggy and error-prone, difficult to use and not even designed to be used in production, relying on a testing protocol for distribution.

While there is no evidence of any hacking having taken place, ProPublica reports the app was also highly susceptible to intrusion. The same report says the Homeland Security Department offered to help test the app, but the Iowa Democratic Party declined the offer.

What they're saying:

  • Zeynep Tufekci, on Twitter: "Who needs the Russians when elite arrogance, matched in magnitude by their incompetence, can screw things up this badly? If only it were the Russians! That'd be easier to fix. Worse, there was no need for that damn app."
  • Shadow CEO Gerard Niemira, in a statement on the firm's website: "We sincerely regret the delay in the reporting of the results of last night's Iowa caucuses and the uncertainty it has caused to the candidates, their campaigns, and Democratic caucus-goers. As the Iowa Democratic Party has confirmed, the underlying data and collection process via Shadow's mobile caucus app was sound and accurate, but our process to transmit that caucus results data generated via the app to the IDP was not."
  • Tara McGowan, co-founder of Democrat tech startup ACRONYM, to Axios: "We don't want things like this to discourage people taking risks because the aversion to the risks could be the reason we lose in November."

The bottom line: This was essentially a playbook for how not to employ technology in an election.

What's next: Nevada was reported to be planning to use the same app for its caucus, but it has decided not to in the wake of the Iowa fiasco.

Go deeper: Pete Buttigieg holds narrow lead in Iowa with 97% of precincts reporting

Go deeper

Women rise to the top at major media companies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several women have been tapped to lead some of the country's largest newsrooms over the past year — a promising sign of progress for an industry that's typically been slow to accept change and embrace diversity.

Driving the news: CBS News executive Kimberly Godwin was named president of ABC News on Wednesday. Godwin will be the first Black woman to lead a major broadcast news division when she takes the helm in May.

Americans will likely have to navigate a maze of vaccine "passports"

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Many private businesses and some states are plowing ahead with methods of verifying that people have been vaccinated, despite conservative resistance to "vaccine passports."

Why it matters: Many businesses view some sort of vaccine verification system as key to getting back to normal. But in the absence of federal leadership, a confusing patchwork approach is likely to pop up.

The future of political advertising is connected TV

Reproduced from Centro; Chart: Axios Visuals

Political advertising has quickly begun to migrate over to connected TV (CTV), or digital and streaming television, according to new data.

Why it matters: "If the current trends of explosive growth in CTV viewership continue, we could see a tipping point where CTV makes up nearly half of political digital ad spend as soon as 2022," says Grace Briscoe, vice president of candidates and causes at Centro, a digital ad placement firm that works with hundreds of campaigns across the country.