The ominous signs were there. First, the release of the famous De Moines Register/CNN poll going into the Iowa causcuses was put on an unprecedented halt. A draft version of the results was obtained by Nate Silver's 538
and the reasoning for the block became pretty self-explanatory.
It had the Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leading with 22%, followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 18%, while Joe Biden, the heretofore frontrunner, came in fourth, putting the Democratic leadership in a bind.
The sadder part, however, is that even now, after the Iowa caucuses came and went on Monday, we still don't know who won the state's Democratic primary. What happened? A vote-counting fiasco, that's what, and there was an app for that.
Russians? Nah, Shadow, Inc.
According to the new state caucus system, precinct chairs were supposed to tally and collect the section results for the Iowa Democratic Party with an app. While available both for iOS and Android, the piece of mobile software simply bugged out, reports Vice
, and they were forced to phone the results in, with the respective thumb-twiddling on hold.
The whole shebang forced some result reporting inconsistencies and, given that the backup of the backup are paper ballots, yesterday came and went without the promised final tally. So, who made the app that Democrats paid $63,000
for? A small startup called Shadow, Inc., an irony of there ever was one.
With Buttigieg claiming victory without official results, and Sanders being optimistic early, too, there is an indication that the app-based voter rolls weren't the only game in town that night.
Still, while the app hasn't been the sole thing to go wrong with the Iowa caucuses, the resulting brouhaha is certainly a vindication for those who insist that important elections are the one thing that should be kept relatively old school, regardless of technology advancements leaps.