Iowa caucuses

Iowa Vote Counting Issues Raise Voting Security Questions in Illinois, Other States

An app designed to be used as a reporting tool in Iowa's caucuses failed, causing delays in the reporting and tabulating of results

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After issues with an app used for reporting vote totals at caucuses throughout the state of Iowa on Monday, concerns about election technology and security are being raised across the nation, including in Illinois.

On Monday, the Iowa Democratic Party announced problems with a new app it was using to report data out of more than 1,600 caucus sites across the state, stressing that it was a coding issue within the app rather than a hacking issue.

As of Tuesday evening, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders were vying for first place, giving them an advantage heading into New Hampshire. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern has the latest.

According to election observers in Iowa, the app that was supposed to be used to report data had not been tested before the caucuses.

“It’s always a danger when your first trial is a real election,” UIC political expert Dick Simpson said.

NBC 5’s political reporter Mary Ann Ahern breaks down the issues that delayed reporting of results in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, the official kick-off to the 2020 presidential primary election.

Simpson said the damage caused by the reporting delays in Iowa will be minimized if the Democratic party can get results out as soon as possible.

“This will have a profound effect on the New Hampshire vote, but if they were released quickly, it would not be much different than if they had come out the night of the caucus themselves,” he said.

Illinois, whose primary is March 17, will also have new election software in use, but according to Simpson, that software has not been tested.

“We are rolling out new voting software in both Chicago and Cook County, (but) we haven’t been able to test this new software to make sure that it is going to give reliable results quickly to headquarters,” he said.

Other states are enacting changes in the wake of the slow vote count in Iowa. Nevada, which will hold its caucuses on Feb. 22, was originally set to use the same app officials in Iowa used, but on Tuesday announced that they will not use the technology later this month, according to NBC News.  

“Nevada Democrats can confidently say that what happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada,” State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II said in a statement. “We had already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward.”

Vote totals in Iowa will be updated Tuesday afternoon as tabulation continues. Meanwhile, candidates have moved forward to New Hampshire, as the state will hold the nation’s first primary election next week.

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