Iowa caucus app problem leaves a path of failure

Iowa caucus app problem leaves a path of failure

Lilly Fulks, News and Features Section Editor

This year’s Iowa caucus resulted in utter chaos and confusion after the app they decided to use failed to produce results, leaving voters wondering what was going to happen, and campaigners thinking they won the state, all while Trump sat back with his record breaking numbers, and mocked the democratic party for creating, “the sloppiest train wreck in history.” 


With a dozen delegates running, confusion was bound to happen, but nobody expected the utter chaos that would ensue after the app had a problem getting transmitting the results, among many other disasters. 


People began questioning why the polls were stuck at 0, and the candidates thinking that the vote was theirs, leaving viewers in confusion, and candidates celebrating their undecided victory.


The app problem sprouted after Lindsey Ellickson, who was in charge of running her Cedar Rapids precinct, dropped her phone in the toilet. She tried to download the app onto a replacement phone, but was not able to do so. 


However, Ellickson’s phone was not the only thing that fell in the toilet. When the app finally began to produce results, they were inaccurate, and needed to be rechecked before they could be produced to the public.


So Iowa decided to halt all results, and were able to identify the problem as a coding error within the app. In hopes of getting the results out, they switched to a back up app, but after making a key change to said app it was no longer usable.  

This app problem would lead to a chain reaction of failure. After results failed to produce, the hotline the Caucus set up exploded with calls from precincts trying to poll in results. Journalists trying to understand why there are no results, and the occasional teenage prank call. 


This mess of problems would result in days without final results, and while some would trickle in every once and awhile, they still were marked with error and uncertainty. Precincts were struggling to get all their results, going to the point of sending out officials to knock on doors in hopes of getting accurate numbers. 


This catastrophe would push people to doubt the caucus. Some people believed it to be another reason for Iowa to no longer be the first state to decide, others believe it highlights the untruthfulness that can come with voting, and the power whoevers counting the votes actually has. 


“I think there are many sides to blame. The problem is you never know how much is real and fake when it comes to the media, for all we know they could already have a winner, but they may not want said winner,” says RHS senior Olivia Joosten. 


In the end, people would have to wait another day before finally getting their results back, and Iowa would have to sit in the embarrassment that comes with such a massive error.