“NV Dems can confidently say that what happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada on February 22,” William McCurdy II, chair of the Nevada Democratic Party, said in a statement on Feb. 4. “We will not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus.”
The party has already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, he said. The party was “currently evaluating the best path forward.”
The Nevada Democratic Party didn’t respond to questions about what app it would be using and how it’s vetted and tested that app. The party paid Shadow Inc., the company that developed the app used in the Iowa caucus, $58,000 in August 2019 for technology services. It had never said which firm developed its app, but some reports indicated it was Shadow.
The Iowa Democratic Party paid the Washington-based company over $63,000 later in 2019.
Shadow’s app was designed to help precinct chairs report the three results from their precincts. There were initial results, results after supporters from non-viable candidates switched to other candidates, and “state delegate equivalents,” which were tallied using the second round of numbers.
Inconsistencies with early reports Feb. 3 in Iowa were uncovered through an accuracy and quality check, Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price said in a statement on Feb. 4. An investigation showed the inconsistencies stemming from “coding issues” on the app.
Because the app wasn’t working, precinct officials flooded telephone lines trying to report results, causing major delays.
The state party said the app wasn’t hacked or intruded. Department of Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf said Feb. 4 that his agency offered to test the app “from a hacking perspective” but was rebuffed.
While there was no evidence of a hack, there were stress or load issues, as well as a reporting issue, he said.
“Given the amount of scrutiny that we have on election security these days, this is a concerning event, and it really goes to the public confidence of our elections,” he said.
Shadow said in a statement on Feb. 4 that staff members regretted the delay in reporting the caucus results “and the uncertainty it has caused to the candidates, their campaigns, and Democratic caucus-goers.”
“We will apply the lessons learned in the future, and have already corrected the underlying technology issue. We take these issues very seriously, and are committed to improving and evolving to support the Democratic Party’s goal of modernizing its election processes,” the company said.
The next Democratic Party primary takes place next week in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley told New Hampshire Public Radio on Feb. 4 that voters and campaigns can be confident in the primary there because the state uses paper ballots.
“I think it is impossible to hack, because it includes so many human beings and the fact that there’s the paper trail,” Buckley said.
The state holds regular elections, and the secretary of state oversees them, not the Democratic Party, Buckley said.
The procedure is simple for voters, he said. “Go in, mark the ballot.”