Nevada Democrats have released a revamped plan for the Feb. 22 caucuses, adding measures intended to avoid a repeat of problems that ensnared Iowa's vote. But they will still rely on a complex process involving internet-connected iPads that is being rolled out to caucus organizers a little more than a week before voting.
In a memo released Thursday, Nevada Democrats said there will be a two-step process for reporting results consisting of submissions made by phone and electronically. Caucus organizers will be relying on off-the-shelf Google data-management software to calculate and submit results electronically. The Google app and iPads are trusted commercial tech tools — a contrast to the newly developed app used in Iowa.
The stakes are high for Democrats after the meltdown of the Iowa caucuses and amid heightened concern of election security following Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential contest. As in Iowa, Nevada’s caucuses are run by the state party and not state and local election officials.
Nevada Republicans do not have caucuses this year.
The state party had to scramble to rework its process after jettisoning software made by the same developer whose mobile reporting app failed in Iowa. State party officials said they have been consulting with the Democratic National Committee, the Department of Homeland Security and technical experts.
Party officials emphasized that no custom applications were built and instead the process relies on “off the shelf technology from Google” connected with forms and spreadsheets for convenience. They also said they alerted Google that they planned to use its programs.
In recent days, volunteers who will be leading the Nevada caucuses had raised concerns that key information about the process had yet to be released and that there had been no hands-on training with the iPads they will be expected to use. In addition, they said there had been no opportunities to practice using what was then described as a “tool” for calculating results.
It now appears the “tool” will be a preprogrammed Google form incorporated with information on early votes cast for each respective precinct, so they can be added to the in-person caucus. A paper backup of those early votes will also be provided to the caucus organizer for each precinct.
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