Feb 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Nevada Democrats say their caucus won't use Iowa's app

Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Nevada's Democrats say their Feb. 22 caucus will not use the same vote-tallying app that's being blamed for the unprecedented delay reporting Monday's Iowa caucus results. CNN previously reported Nevada would.

Our thought bubble: When software introductions fail as badly as Iowa's just did, engineers typically "roll back" their system to its last previously functioning state. For Nevada's Democrats, that's likely to mean turning back the clock to the way they did it four years ago.

The big picture: Caucuses are more complex to report than elections, and we're likely to see smoother sailing from next week's New Hampshire primary and the primaries that follow.

  • The other remaining caucus states are Kansas, North Dakota, Wyoming and Maine.
  • The Iowa debacle had all the earmarks of what engineers call a "cascading failure" as both the app and the state's backup phone reporting systems failed.
  • It may have presented what software developers call an "edge case," pushing the tallying system over the precipice.

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This story has been updated with the statement from Nevada Democrats.

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Software disaster sinks Iowa caucus

Biden supporters caucus in a Des Moines, Iowa, gym. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The disastrous rollout of the Iowa Democratic Party's new vote-reporting app Monday night looks to go down as a software train wreck for the ages.

The big picture: Coding disasters have been with us as long as there's been software, and in the past they've led to exploding space missions and lethal doses of radiation for cancer patients. In this case, the failure of a new app, followed by long delays with a phone-reporting backup system, seems to have crippled the calendar-leading Iowa Democratic caucuses — adding a fresh element of instability to our troubled election system.

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.

Trump camp weaponizes Iowa caucus chaos against Democrats

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The Trump camp seized on Democrats' caucus meltdown in Iowa, using the lack of results and tech-driven chaos to sow uncertainty about the process in its aftermath.

Why it matters: The right is weaponizing the mess in an attempt to fire up its base and highlight Democrats' organizational failure, seizing on the botched caucus to argue that the left's top candidates can't be trusted to enact their promised sweeping structural reforms.