Tuesday, February 04, 2020

MSM Coverage: Oh Woe Is We! Meeting Bernie's Requirements, the App is to Blame!!!

LATimes |  On a tense, chaotic night, with the eyes of the nation trained on the Iowa caucuses, that state’s Democratic Party was counting on a slick new smartphone app to make everything go smoothly. 

The app was coded by a tech firm run by veterans of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, one of them a former Google engineer. It was designed to meet new requirements instituted after that year’s contentious Iowa caucuses, in which Clinton narrowly edged out Bernie Sanders. To provide more transparency this time around, the state party promised to report not just the final results but voters’ initial and second choices as well.

With so much more data to tabulate than in previous years, party leaders feared that the established system of reporting numbers by phone would be too slow. A proposal for a “tele-caucus” system enabling virtual voting was rejected as too vulnerable to hacking. An app that could instantaneously relay the numbers as soon as precinct chairs input them, developed by Democratic Party loyalists, looked like the perfect solution.

It turned out to be a crushing failure. 

The firm behind the app is Shadow, an affiliate of ACRONYM, a Democratic nonprofit founded in 2017 “to educate, inspire, register, and mobilize voters,” according to its website. 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.

Niemira had previously worked at kiva.org, a nonprofit that makes loans to entrepreneurs and others in the developing world, and Davis had spent eight years as an engineer at Google. ACRONYM’s founder and CEO is Tara McGowan, a former journalist and digital producer with President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.

In the days leading up to caucus night, Shadow’s app was seen as “a potential target for early election interference,” according to the Des Moines Register.

Instead, a different problem arose.