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Nevada Democratic Party scraps use of app following Iowa delay

Iowa Democrats blame app for delays
Iowa Democrats blame app for delays 07:00

After issues with a mobile app led to delayed Iowa caucus results and a wave of criticism, the Nevada State Democratic Party announced Tuesday that it is scrapping its planned use of the same app.

"NV Dems can confidently say that what happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada on February 22nd," state party chair William McCurdy II said in a statement.

"We will not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus. We had already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward."

The Iowa Democratic Party and Nevada State Democratic Party had contracted with Shadow Inc., a progressive tech startup headed by Hillary Clinton's top developer in 2016, to build a mobile app to help the parties report results and support volunteers on caucus night, two Democrats familiar with the decision told CBS News.

The firm received $58,000 from Nevada's state party last summer for "technology services," and more than $62,000 from Iowa's party for "website development."

Three Democrats in Nevada confirmed Tuesday that the app had played a central role in caucus chair training in the state ahead of Caucus Day, with volunteers given multiple opportunities to test out the app in person.

Both state parties had been reluctant to identify the vendor or details of its vetting process, citing security concerns. As in Iowa, the software would have assisted Nevada Democrats in their upcoming contest to report unofficial winners and losers on the night of the caucus, backed up by paper records for the official certification of the results.

Several campaigns have also purchased services from Shadow, mostly for "non-federal digital communications." The company, which touts itself as building a "long-term, side-by-side 'Shadow' of tech infrastructure to the Democratic Party and the progressive community," advertises text message and data services separate from the apps developed for the state parties.

The Iowa Democratic Party blamed a "coding issue" for "reporting out only partial data" in a statement Tuesday, adding that the error "did not impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately."

Nevada's Democratic party has invested heavily in designing an extensive training program for the state's caucuses, which kick off early voting in two weeks, adding an additional layer of complexity to tabulation on the day of the caucus. But despite the party's preparations, two aides to Democratic campaigns in Nevada have told CBS News they feared the February 22 contest could prove a repeat of Iowa's frustrating delays.

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