Iowa caucuses have been around since the 1800’s.
Unlike primary elections in most other states where registered voters go to polling places to cast ballots, Iowans gather at local caucus meetings to discuss and vote on the candidates.
These gatherings take place in schools, churches, public libraries and individual homes. The locations are considered precincts and there are 1681 of them in Iowa.
It’s all very informal. Participants indicate their support of a candidate by standing in a designated area based on candidate preference. Undecided voters can visit each group and discuss the candidates and why they support them.
After 30 minutes, the process is temporarily stopped and supporters for each candidate are counted.
A candidate must receive 15 per-cent of the group to be a viable candidate. Once viable candidates are decided, they take another 30 minutes for members of groups whose candidate did not meet the viability requirements to select a different candidate. Once this is done, counts are made of each group of supporters.
If this all sounds a little strange, that’s because, well, it is. But since things have been done this way for 200 years, it is considered legit.
The Iowa caucuses are the first major contest of the United States presidential season.
This year all eyes were on Iowa to see which candidate would win and possibly become the face of the Democrat contender to challenge President Trump.
Election experts swear by the results of the Iowa caucuses. Since 1972, they have a 55 per-cent success rate in predicting which Democrat will win the nomination.
All did not go well with the compilation of the results from the caucus votes this year.
Some “bright” individual from the Democratic National Party decided to change the way results were reported. They decided to “modernize” the election process. Considering the way they do things, a change in the process would be a good idea.
People voted, votes were counted and written down on preference cards and the cards were collected for safe keeping.
Previously, the votes would be counted, and the results called into the state party and released to the media.
But this year they decided to replace a process that had worked perfectly fine in the past with a mobile app the precincts would use to simply upload the information.
Anyone who has ever tried to upload anything knows there is not much simple about it.
Caucus runners were to take a photo of the results and upload it to the app.
And that’s when the train went off the rails.
Some caucus officials waited until that very evening to download the app. One party chair said attempts to download the app were complicated by measures put in place to protect the reporting system against outside attacks.
The chaos began when too many officials were trying to log into the system and there were so many layers of security, the system faulted. The backup plan was to go the old route and call in the results. That line got so overloaded it also failed to work.
All this confusion resulted in a big black eye for the nation’s first Democrat primary.
As the week progressed and the results from the caucus were still undetermined, it became apparent that the new technology was a bust.
Party officials were vague in their response about details of the new smartphone app and whether it had been tested in advance.
No answer is required. Results speak for themselves here.
Once news broke that the app had only been developed five months prior to being used, it was obvious the party had made a big blunder in using it.
The Department of Homeland Security had reportedly offered to test the new smartphone app for security flaws prior to the caucus, but Iowa Democratic party officials declined.
The reality is Iowa’s Democratic Party handed its’ election results over to a start-up company with an untested app. There is no excuse for utilizing an app that wasn’t ready. New technology should never have been used for the first time in a national election.
In the real world where connections drop, phones malfunction and downloads take considerable time, the choice to use an app was ludicrous.
Republicans spent last week mocking the Democrats for the chaos and confusion in Iowa and rightly so.
These kinds of shenanigans do not make voters feel confident the in the Democratic party. They need to get their act together if they want voters to believe they are capable of running the country.
There was some speculation about whether the system had been hacked but there was no evidence of a cyber- attack.
No Russians this time, just human error.