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Caucus crashed: Democrats' results delayed by tech troubles

The Iowa Democratic Party
the Democratic Party
University of California, Irvine School of Law
The Brennan Center for Justice
NYU School of Law
Lincoln High School
Polk County Democratic Party
the Iowa Democratic Party

Troy Price
Tom Courtney
Jonathan Green
Lone Tree
Donald Trump
Brad Parscale
Richard L. Hasen
Lawrence Norden
David Pitt
Scott McFetridge
Ryan J. Foley
Tony Price


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Black Friday.“To

Des Moines County
Iowa City

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The New York Times
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Glitches with a new mobile app caused confusion, they said, and some caucus organizers were forced to call in results for the state party to record manually, introducing human error and delays.Des Moines County Democratic Chair Tom Courtney said he heard that in precincts across his county, including his own, the mobile app was “a mess.”Precinct leaders were instead phoning in their results to the Democratic Party headquarters, and “they weren’t answering the phones,” Courtney said. “Most of the time when there is a problem with an election it turns out to be the result of administrative incompetence rather than someone cheating or some outside interference,” Hasen said.Deploying new technology this close to an election is always a risky proposition, said Lawrence Norden, an elections expert with The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. Norden said it’s akin to a major retailer using new cash registers for the first time on Black Friday.“To roll out a new technology without really testing it and making it available as early as possible and giving folks the opportunity to challenge it and work out all the bugs is a high-stakes decision which I think is proving to be problematic today,” Norden said.Norden said party officials were wise to slow down the reporting to ensure accurate results, given concerns of another round of election interference by Russia or other hostile governments seeking to undermine U.S. democracy.“People aren’t going to remember in two weeks that these results were late, but you can bet if the results changed dramatically they would,” Norden said. “Those of us who work in the election space support accuracy over speed.”Ruth Thompson, who chaired a precinct at Lincoln High School in Des Moines, said she did not use the app to report results because organizers had problems trying to download and test it.