Categories: Politics

What Happened in Iowa Last Night?

Amidst claims of “a coding issue” in the app used to report results from the state’s 1,678 precincts, the results of the Iowa Caucus have still not been announced.

It’s been more than 12 hours since the Iowa Democratic Caucuses first began, and a winner has still not been announced. Problems reporting delegate totals from the nearly 1,700 precincts holding caucuses caused the delay. 

Troy Price, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP), pointed to “coding issues” with the app the state party used to simplify the process of reporting. 

“We have every indication that our systems were secure and there was not a cyber security intrusion,” Price said in a statement released Tuesday morning. However, when officials discovered “inconsistencies” in caucus results coming from various precincts during an “accuracy and quality check,” they manually tallied the data.

“As part of our investigation,” Price’s statement continued, “we determined with certainty that the underlying data collected via the app was sound. While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system. This issue was identified and fixed. The application’s reporting issue did not impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately.” 

Shadow, the technology firm that created the app, has not yet made a public statement or returned Courier’s request for comment. (Editor’s note: The progressive non-profit organization ACRONYM is an investor in Shadow. ACRONYM is also an investor in Courier Newsroom.)

Price added in his statement this morning that results from precincts are still being reported to the IDP.

According to the New York Times, another issue that arose Monday night involved the volunteers responsible for reporting the results at each of the state’s 1,678 precincts: Many precinct chairs either struggled to log into the app, found it didn’t work, or didn’t even bother using it in the first place.

“Most of my precinct chairs were a little older,” Laura Hubka, the Democratic chairwoman in Northern Iowa’s Howard County, told the Times. “They weren’t comfortable with it.”

These precinct chairs instead called their results in, only for some to wind up on hold for hours as IDP officials struggled to juggle the volume of calls. 

The state party said the delay was also attributable to the new rules implemented this year that require precinct chairs to report three sets of numbers to the party, instead of just the delegate totals. 

That rule, adopted for the sake of transparency after the contentious 2016 caucuses, required precinct leaders to reveal not only the number of “state delegate equivalents” earned by each candidate, the metric that determines the winner, but also the raw data of how many supporters each candidate earned during both the first and second alignments at each precinct. 

The reporting of three sets of numbers from the 1,678 precincts exacerbated the delay. 

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Published by
Keya Vakil

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