This startup is behind the app linked to Iowa election reporting debacle; plagued with coding issues
The whole country watched the first presidential election caucus with the hope of seeing the election results at about 9:00PM Eastern Standard Time. To the surprise of many, there was no announcement from Iowa State Election officials. The results from the Iowa caucuses were delayed for no apparent reasons. The debacle went through the midnight before election official with no words from state election officials.
As it turned out, the delay was caused an app that was quickly put together two months earlier by a tech startup called Shadow, a Democratic nonprofit founded in 2017 “to educate, inspire, register, and mobilize voters,” according to its website. The app was not properly tested at a statewide scale, according to people briefed on the matter. Shadow started out as Groundbase, a tech developer co-founded by Gerard Niemira and Krista Davis, who worked for the tech team on Clinton’s campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination.
Shadow’s caucus app was designed to modernize a system that relied on precinct chairs phoning in their results. The app was seen by some as “a potential target for early election interference,” according to the Des Moines Register. Unfortunately, the app is not ready for the prime time. The app had the opposite effect. The results from Monday’s caucuses could not be transmitted to Iowa party headquarters and the delays increased. Results are not expected until later Tuesday.
NBC News also reported the app was plagued with coding issues. “NEW statement from @iowademocrats — “While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system,” NBC News tweeted.
NEW statement from @iowademocrats — "While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system." pic.twitter.com/kOXdcvggoe
— Maura Barrett (@MauraBarrettNBC) February 4, 2020
“We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results. In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report,” Iowa Democratic Party communications director Mandy McClure said in a written statement released late Monday night.
Many took to social media to express their frustration and blamed party officials for the disaster. One Twitter said: “SCANDAL ALERT – BREAKING: The App at the center of the #IowaCaucas Chaos, built by
@ShadowIncHQ (you can’t make this up) – is ALSO being used in Nevada on 2/22. We have to stop it. Gonna need your support, your RT’s and your direct action. We cannot let this thing into NV.”
SCANDAL ALERT – BREAKING: The App at the center of the #IowaCaucas Chaos, built by @ShadowIncHQ (you can't make this up) – is ALSO being used in Nevada on 2/22. We have to stop it. Gonna need your support, your RT's and your direct action. We cannot let this thing into NV.
— dan rolle (@danrolle) February 4, 2020