Nevada Democrats won't use app that caused Iowa caucus fiasco

The app used in Iowa had been initially set to be used in the upcoming Nevada caucuses Feb. 22.
Image: Carl Voss
Precinct captain Carl Voss of Des Moines displays the Iowa Democratic Party caucus reporting app on his phone outside the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 4, 2020.Nati Harnik / AP

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By Adam Edelman

DES MOINES, Iowa — Nevada’s Democratic Party said Tuesday it will not use the trouble-plagued app that has contributed to ongoing delays in the reporting of results in the Iowa Democratic caucuses.

Democrats in Nevada had planned to use the app for their caucus on Feb. 22. The same company developed the app for both states.

But the state’s Democratic Party said Tuesday that it had previously created backup plans for its reporting systems and was in the process of “evaluating the best path forward.”

"NV Dems can confidently say that what happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada on February 22nd. We will not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus,” 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,” he added.

The Iowa Democratic Party said Tuesday that the new app, meant to speed up the reporting of caucus results, had a “coding issue” that instead led to a significant delay in counting and reporting results. The error, which caused accurately collected data to be only partially reported, forced the party to resort to manual backups.

The snafu threw the first presidential nominating contest in the nation into chaos, with the Iowa Democratic Party saying it found "inconsistencies," delaying results and causing widespread confusion across the state.

Two Democratic strategists familiar with the matter told NBC News that the app developer was Shadow, Inc., a technology company focused on helping progressive candidates. A review of public records by NBC News show payments this winter of over $50,000 by both the Iowa and Nevada Democratic parties to the developer. The company was funded by Acronym, a Democratic political non-profit, according to Acronym founder Tara McGowan.

The app was the subject of scrutiny in the weeks before the caucuses due in part to the lack of information around it. Before the caucuses, the Iowa Democratic Party declined for security reasons to say which company developed the app. It so far hasn’t responded to new requests to confirm the app's maker.

The Iowa Democratic Party said it would begin releasing first results from Monday's caucuses on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET.

Ben Popken contributed.