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Nevada Nixes Troublesome App for Democratic Presidential Caucus

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Nevada Democratic Party officials are confident there won't be a voting meltdown such as the one that occurred in Iowa this week when the state's presidential caucuses are held in less than three weeks. (disabilitylawco.org)
Nevada Democratic Party officials are confident there won't be a voting meltdown such as the one that occurred in Iowa this week when the state's presidential caucuses are held in less than three weeks. (disabilitylawco.org)
 By Roz Brown - Producer, Contact
February 5, 2020

LAS VEGAS -- Iowa still is sorting through results of Monday's Democratic caucus, but Nevada officials say they won't be using the mobile app that delayed the Iowa results. That app was set to be employed in the upcoming Nevada caucus on Feb. 22.

Computer scientist David Jefferson, a board member of the advocacy group Verified Voting, has analyzed voting systems since the 1990s and said internet-based systems such as the Iowa app can be vulnerable to engineering failures, bugs, capacity and communications failures.

"My initial thoughts are that this system was rushed into production way too fast," he said. "It had never been used before -- at least, not in exactly this form -- and obviously could not have been tested at scale."

The same company developed apps for both the Iowa and Nevada Democratic Party caucuses. On Tuesday, Nevada's state Democratic Party announced it will not use that app or vendor, and instead will rely on redundant reporting systems already created for the Feb. 22 voting event.

The Iowa caucuses are the first major contest of the U.S. presidential season. As a security expert, Jefferson agreed with many others who say it may be time to eliminate the caucus system in favor of primary elections managed by state and local governments, rather than political parties.

"I think now is the time to consider whether we should abandon caucuses entirely and go to state-run primaries," he said, "because whatever the problems are with state voting systems, and there are plenty, I do not think they're as bad as they are with the party-run systems."

Nevada will be the third state to cast votes in 2020, and had planned to use one app to tabulate results and a second for people to cast their votes online during four days of early voting.

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