Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Officials from the 68th caucus precinct overlook the results of the first referendum count during a caucus event on February 3, 2020 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Officials from the 68th caucus precinct overlook the results of the first referendum count during a caucus event on February 3, 2020 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images)

Reporting on New Nevada Caucus App, or iPad 'Tool,' Not Filling Observers With Confidence

"The 2020 election cycle could not only mark the end of the Iowa caucuses, but all caucuses nationwide."

Eoin Higgins

As Nevadans pepare to begin early voting from February 15-18 in the state's 2020 Democratic presidential primary caucuses, reporting about an app set to be used in the contest is raising serious questions around the process and whether the Democratic Party learned anything from the debacle that was the Iowa caucuses earlier this month. 

"Apparently the solution to count votes in caucuses is to...continue to use untested software and roll it out just before a major election," tweeted Washington Post reporter Hamza Shaban.

After the Iowa caucuses descended into chaos due in no small part to the use of an app designed by Democratic consulting firm Acronym's Shadow, Inc. subsidiary, Nevada Democratic Party officials promised they would not use the same technology—instead shifting their focus to building out a useable replacement in a matter of weeks. 

American Prospect reporter Brittany Gibson found Wednesday that many of the errors which surrounded deployment of the Iowa app are being repeated in Nevada.

On February 8, the presidential campaigns were told that the Nevada caucus sites would now use a "tool," which would be pre-loaded onto iPads at the causes sites, and not connected to the internet, to record results. Unlike the original app, which was commissioned for $60,000, the tool would supposedly work more like a calculator. But aside from the lack of internet connectivity, the party did not explain the difference between the failed app and the new tool. It also did not disclose who made it.

Voting rights group Verified Voting president Marian Schneider told Gibson she was wary of the app and how it was being designed and deployed.

"Technology needs proper planning, proper testing, and proper training," said Scheider. "Those are the key ingredients."

As Recode reported, it's unclear how much training party officials have on the new tool:

The Nevada State Democratic Party told Recode that it has over 3,000 volunteers and 300 site leads who are "actively receiving robust training." The statement not did provide any details beyond this, nor did it address the non-app tool. Nevada might have learned a few lessons from Iowa regarding which app vendors to trust, but it doesn't appear to have learned that transparency is an essential part of the democratic process.

The party did reveal that paper would be used as a back-up to the tool to ensure the veracity of results. 

Nevada Independent reporter Megan Messerly shared a photo of the paper ballot on Twitter Wednesday. 

On February 8, Messerly was told by a caucus volunteer that the ongoing drama was damaging the process.

"For me, I volunteered to do this because I'm a loyal Democrat, and there's nothing more I want to do than defeat Donald Trump," said volunteer site leader Seth Morrison. "But if we allow this to go down and it's another Iowa, what does this do for my party?"

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rights Group Urges Civilian Safeguards as Biden Sends Troops Back to Somalia

"A culture of impunity for civilian loss breeds resentment and mistrust among the population and undermines efforts to build a more rights-respecting state," Human Rights Watch's regional director asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·

Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo