Precinct chairs across Iowa said that some of them are struggling to use the new phone application for reporting Monday night’s caucus results, potentially delaying the counting of the first votes in the 2020 Democratic race.
The application is one of the ways local officials who oversee individual caucuses are able to send results from each of the nearly 1,700 sites to the Iowa Democratic Party, which compiles and checks the results.
The app was created to improve the efficiency of reporting of results, but chairs unable to use the app on Monday will send their results to the party via a call-in number. The party hotline has always been available to precinct chairs. State party officials said they have no concerns that the results will be counted inaccurately.
The final tally could be delayed by a few hours because the chairs will have to call the hotline and read the results instead of submitting them electronically.
Four Democratic county chairs told Bloomberg News that some precinct chairs told them that they were unable to download or log in to the phone app.
“We are experiencing some issues in terms of people being able to load and connect with the app for their precinct reporting,” said Bret Nilles, chairman of the Linn County Democratic Party.
The Iowa Democratic Party said it is aware of the problems, but stressed it would not affect the reporting of the results.
“The IDP is working with any precinct chairs who want to use the optional tabulation application to make sure they are comfortable with it,” Mandy McClure, the party spokeswoman, said in a statement. “We’ve always been aware that many precinct chairs prefer to call in results via a secure hotline, and have systems in place so they can do so.”
The issues reported Monday have to do with the functionality of the app, including problems with downloading and logging in. The state party has said it has no cybersecurity concerns over the app’s use.
The party first used a phone application to report results in 2016, but before then, all results were submitted by phone.
“A lot of us are going to be doing it on paper and calling it in,” said Kelcey Brackett, the chairman of the Muscatine County Democratic Party.
Beyond the potential delay of reporting results, Brackett said the problems should not affect the caucuses.
“The app was to most of the chairs a very new thing,” he said. “They were looking forward to being able to use it but we’re back to use pen and paper, which everyone is familiar with and should be easy.”
Author: Tyler Pager