Not releasing Iowa Caucus results is a mistake

Mary Ross and Mary Ross

The Iowa democratic caucus results have not been released, which is detrimental to the success of all the candidates’ campaigns and the Democratic party in general.

In terms of the candidates’ campaigns, none of the candidates can adapt their plan of action for canvassing and campaigning in other states to help make them successful without seeing how they stack up to the other candidates in the field.

But worse than just the candidates not having information to adapt their plan of action, not reporting the results of the Iowa caucuses brings into question the competency of the Democratic Party

The application used for reporting caucus results was created by a company called Shadow, which belongs to a nonprofit called Acronym. It is the first time a caucus is using this system, and this year’s caucus has changed its rules, so each caucus site is reporting three separate numbers rather than one. This leaves much room for error in using a new system.

Not only does this new system leave room for error, but so does possible involvement from app creators and operators.  

Shadow, the company that created the caucus reporting system, is currently being run by Gerald Niemira and Krista Davis, both members of the tech crew for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Though it has been said that they would not let their personal beliefs interfere with the system and the results, the idea that Clinton is such an avid proponent against Sanders’ campaign and Niemira and Davis were involved with Clinton could definitely create a plausible argument for Sanders ranking lower in the caucus results. When the results come out, it will be interesting to see if Sanders ranks lower than predicted, which may indicate some sort of interference or hacking into the caucus reporting system by Niemira, Davis and their employees.

Something else to look for when the results eventually are released is to see where Pete Buttigieg stands in the ranks, which could additionally attribute to the perceived incompetence of the Democratic Party. Pete Buttigieg gave $42,500 to a nonprofit called Acronym, which owns the company called Shadow, which is the company that created the app the Democratic Party was using to tally the votes in the caucus.

If Buttigieg ranks higher compared to anticipated results, there will be evidence to believe that his contribution to Acronym may have caused people working on the system to bump up his numbers, showing that he ranked higher.

All of this has led to questions about the competency of the Democratic Party, at least in Iowa. By using a system that hasn’t been proven to work and with possible conflict of interest, I question if the Democratic Party is even concerned with obtaining accurate results or if they are concerned with skewing results to support the candidate Democratic Party leaders want to become the frontrunner in order to hand them the Democratic Party nomination.  

After all, many voters look to the Iowa caucus to see who the frontrunners are. After hearing the results, voters can use them to help decide how they should vote in their primaries and caucuses. With skewed data showing preferred candidates as frontrunners, it is likely that voters in other states will begin to vote for those “frontrunners”, leading to the possibility of the presidential nomination to be to someone the democratic leaders prefer, rather than toward someone everyday voters prefer. It also makes me feel like even when I decide who I want to vote for in Ohio’s primaries, my vote won’t really matter because results can be skewed by the Democratic Party leaders here in Ohio.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for me in terms of caucus reporting, however. Though Shadow’s system for reporting caucus results was supposed to be used in the Nevada caucus, the chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party said they will not be using the system and are looking for other ways of reporting the caucus accurately and effectively. This is a positive because at least in Nevada, the Democratic Party is looking for a way to stay unbiased and report fair results from their caucuses in order to inform the public of the best candidate in their eyes, which means other states may be doing the same thing.