The first signs of trouble in the Iowa Democratic caucuses emerged early Monday afternoon when a handful of county chairs had problems downloading and logging onto a new app designed to report results.
“A lot of us are going to be doing it on paper and calling it in,” Kelcey Brackett, chairman of the Muscatine County Democratic Party, told Bloomberg News on Monday afternoon. “The app was to most of the chairs a very new thing. They were looking forward to being able to use it, but we’re back to using pen and paper.”
Within hours, the glitches cited by local officials mushroomed into a statewide breakdown that by Tuesday morning had paralyzed the nation’s first Democratic presidential nominating contest. The election debacle prompted questions about the integrity of Iowa’s caucus system and the technological competence of the Democratic Party, particularly in light of the Russian hacking and disinformation campaign directed at it in 2016.
Iowa Democratic Party officials emphasized that there was no “hack or intrusion” into the voting system. Yet inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results forced them to halt posting any outcome until late Tuesday afternoon — almost 24 hours after voters first began gathering in churches, schools and gymnasiums to haggle over their choice for who would challenge President Donald Trump in November.