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Volunteers tabulate the votes on the presidential preference cards during an Iowa Democratic Party Caucus meeting at Fort Madison High School in Fort Madison, Iowa, on February 3, 2020. (Photo: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Vowing No Repeat of Iowa Caucus Fiasco, Nevada Dems Say They Won't Use Secretive Shadow Inc. App

"There is no doubt that Nevada should disregard this app," Jeff Weaver, senior adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, said ahead of the announcement.

Jake Johnson

The Nevada State Democratic Party on Tuesday announced it has abandoned plans to use the mobile app at the center of Iowa's election mess in Nevada's Feb. 22 caucus amid fears the technology could throw another presidential contest into chaos.

"NV Dems can confidently say that what happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada on February 22nd," William McCurdy II, chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party, said in a statement. "We will not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus. We had already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward."

"Maybe it's not always a great idea to outsource, privatize, and corporatize the most basic services in a democracy."
—David Sirota, Sanders speechwriter

McCurdy's statement came after Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign urged Nevada Democrats to ditch the app, which was developed by the secretive for-profit technology firm Shadow Inc. with the stated goal of getting election results to the public more quickly. Shadow is owned by the Democratic digital non-profit organization ACRONYM.

The Nevada State Democratic Party paid Shadow $58,000 last August for "technology services," according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Jeff Weaver, senior adviser to Sanders, told Politico Tuesday that given the chaos the hastily developed and untested software unleashed in Iowa, "there is no doubt that Nevada should disregard this app."

CNN, citing an anonymous person familiar with the app, reported earlier Tuesday that the software was "due to be used in the Nevada Democratic caucuses later this month."

An anonymous Democratic source told CNN that the major delay in Iowa's reporting the caucus results "seems to lie with a major coding error in the app that was discovered once data started flowing into the [Iowa Democratic Party] and party officials began to see discrepancies in the three data streams as the results started coming." The Iowa Democratic Party told Democratic presidential campaigns during a call Tuesday that it would release approximately 50% of the results by 5pm ET.

Troy Price, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, acknowledged in a statement Tuesday that the app was central to the botched caucus process.

"While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data," said Price. "We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system. The issue was identified and fixed. The application's reporting issue did not impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately."

David Sirota, speechwriter for the Sanders campaign, suggested in a tweet Tuesday that "maybe it's not always a great idea to outsource, privatize, and corporatize the most basic services in a democracy."

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