WTF Community

🗳 2020 Primary Election


:bangbang: Outrageous! We must institute paper ballots and random audits of those ballots following each election. We also need to institute strict federal standards for the manner in which votes are cast, counted, and audited. We’re all in this together so we need a national standard. What good is a vote cast in a state with vigilant election security if it is countered by a hacked vote in another state that is lax with its security?

(David Bythewood) #529

Agreed. A big part of the problem is that every state is left to do its own thing, and I understand that there’s some good cause for that, to give states a degree of autonomy, but there’s a level where that’s seriously hurting elections, too. I think federal standards that still allow states leeway within their own constitutions could work.

(David Bythewood) #530

Judicial Watch’s fearmongering and propaganda is at it again in Iowa.

Judicial Watch’s voter fraud fear-mongering finds a new opponent: A pro-voter-ID Iowa official



Some numbers are starting to come in… now no numbers are being reported… what is going on?


So uh, anyone caucusing this year? We used to caucus, I was lucky, they held mine within walking distance, and it’s Seattle so there’s a great coffee shop next door too but now it’s just vote by mail. I get that voting is easier but I will kind of miss seeing my neighbors.

Do you caucus or vote in the primary?


I vote in the primary in CA…but it is fun to see my neighbors at the polling spot.

Here’s a primer on how the Iowa caucus gatherings work…from Crookedmedia. Confusing and there’s a pretty uneven playing field as to who can participate.

Some delays in getting the tallies right, seems like these 1700 polling spots are working with a new app perhaps, and the officials are checking all their data before releasing it.

  • A refresher on how caucusing in Iowa works : Iowa Democrats gather at 1,678 precinct locations around the state (gyms, churches, homes, etc.), and sort themselves into groups based on which candidates they support. Officials at the caucus sites tally up the people in these initial formations, and groups that comprise at least 15 percent of all participants at those sites become “locked in” to support their candidates, who are then deemed “viable.”

  • If voters’ first-choice candidates aren’t viable, they can either choose new candidates to support, try to lure other voters from non-viable groups into their camps, or trudge home listening to sad Charlie Brown music. Officials then count everyone again, use the final vote total to assign each viable candidate a certain number of county delegates, and then plug those numbers into a mathematical formula to estimate their “state delegate equivalents”—how many delegates each candidate will get at the Iowa state convention. The simplest process imaginable.

  • This simplest-imaginable process is slightly different than it has been at previous caucuses . Iowans will only be counted in two “rounds” this year, and supporters of viable candidates can no longer change their minds, which should cut down on chaos during the process. Another major change is that instead of just announcing the final delegate results, the party will also be reporting the results of both alignment rounds. This should significantly increase chaos after the process, as campaigns scramble to spin whatever victories they can from three sets of results.


Iowa caucus -

Some big issues with reporting the results. The app being used was largely not functioning and they are starting to go with a conference call to get results. See both tweets.

They are saying there is back up with photos of vote totals. Perhaps it is not the App.


This Is The Buzzy Democratic Firm That Botched The Iowa Caucuses

State campaign finance records indicate the Iowa Democratic Party paid Shadow, a tech company owned by ACRONYM, more than $60,000 for “website development” over two installments in November and December of last year. A Democratic source with knowledge of the process said those payments were for the app that caucus site leaders were supposed to use to upload the results at their locales.

Gerard Niemira, a veteran of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is the head of Shadow. In 2019, David Plouffe, one of the chief architects of President Barack Obama’s wins, joined the board of advisers for ACRONYM.

Niemira, ACRONYM founder Tara McGowan and a spokesman for the group did not immediately respond to phone calls requesting comment.

The Iowa Democratic Party had refused to reveal details about the app, including the company behind it and what security measures were being taken to safeguard the results, arguing that it made the technology more vulnerable to hackers.


OMG. Still no reporting at 2am ET.

Thank you @dragonfly9 for your earlier post on how the Iowa Caucuses work (or in the case of tonight’s caucuses: how they don’t work). What a crazy process! And it sounds like this year they tried to simplify it, but inadvertently made it more complicated while also making it more difficult to report and interpret the results.

For a long time I’ve been tired of how Iowa monopolizes the early months of the primary season. I know they’re proud of this role, but if they’re going to hold us hostage, they should at least get their act together.


I don’t often agree with The Washington Examiner, but in this case I absolutely do.

‘Broken system’: Iowa caucuses reporting snafu fuels calls to eliminate first-in-the-nation status

The Iowa Democratic Party’s embarrassing delay in reporting results from its presidential nominating caucuses fueled arguments that the state should not hold first-in-the-nation status.

"This is a total mess," said former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, who ended his own presidential bid last month before endorsing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “I respect the people of Iowa, they’ve been great — but it’s become very clear that our democracy has been misserved by a broken system.”

In November, Castro came out against Iowa being the first state in the nominating process in part because its overwhelmingly white population does not reflect racial diversity in the country or the party.

“We’re going to have to evaluate after this primary is done — at the DNC — evaluate how we do this,” Castro told reporters Monday. “The debate thresholds, the order of the states, the caucus versus primary. What happened tonight made the argument for itself, nobody can deny that this is a broken way to do it. It was a total mess.”

“The idea of the caucus itself has failed to meet the viability threshold,” said CNN commentator Van Jones. “We’ve all been saying the whole time, why Iowa in the first place? It’s 90% white, you know, when you have a party as diverse as this, to be in a state that’s not diverse is terrible.”

"You only have one job, Iowa!" Jones added.

Ah! That last quip is right on the money!


During MSNBC’s coverage of tonight’s Iowa debacle, Rachel Maddow commented on the colossal mismanagement of the state’s Republican primary in 2012. I hadn’t followed that at the time, but it’s a fascinating story – laid out here in Wikipedia. It resulted in a big push to dethrone Iowa as “first-in-nation” for selecting presidential primary delegates. But eventually everyone calmed down and no action was taken. This second screw-up, just two primary cycles later, could tip the scales and cause Iowa to lose its coveted status.

Here’s an excellent NYT article about the 2012 primary kerfuffle and the resulting cries for making changes to the primaries. Yes, it’s eight years old, but eerily relevant tonight.

From February 2, 2012:


Results for Iowa caucuses delayed as state Democratic Party finds ‘inconsistencies’

The Iowa Democratic Party said early Tuesday that it would release the results of the Iowa caucuses later Tuesday after "manually verifying all precinct results."

Party chair Troy Price said the party is "validating every piece of data we have against our paper trail. That system is taking longer than expected, but it’s in place to ensure we are eventually able to report results with full confidence."

The state Democratic party’s communications director, Mandy McClure, said on Monday night that there were “inconsistencies” in the reporting of three sets of results. “In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report,” McClure said.

"This is simply a reporting issue. The app did not go down, and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results," McClure added.

The state party had earlier said it was carrying out "quality control checks, making sure the numbers are accurate."


Shortly after 11 p.m. ET, no results had been reported — a much slower process than had been expected. At about the same time in the 2016 caucuses, roughly 90 percent of the vote had been reported. The party said it would release information about the results as soon as it passes quality control, adding that it was taking additional steps out of an abundance of caution.

"What we know right now is that around 25 percent of precincts have reported, and early data indicates turnout is on pace for 2016," McClure said.

They’ve been hand counting, I guess, maybe there were problems with the app…

What a disaster! :woman_facepalming:t2:

(David Bythewood) #539

I don’t agree with certain takes from this article, but I do agree that the Iowa Caucus is a terrible representative for Democrats and the country during the primaries. It’s a caucus first, which has its own issues, but it’s from a state that sends monsters like Chuck Grassley and Steve King back to congress with depressing regularity. That we put SO much emphasis on it is only because it’s the first one up. I really feel it’s time this changed.

(David Bythewood) #540


Yes. And, even you if you set aside last night’s monumental screw-up (which still isn’t resolved), we shouldn’t allow the selection of a mere 41 delegates (out of 1,991) dominate the first several months of campaigning.

Perhaps we should consider selecting three or four states to kick off the process, all on the same night and each from a different region of the country. The main issue is that this would require an agreement between the states which might be difficult to wrangle - since each really wants to be the very first.


I found this thread to be insightful about The App shitshow. Helped curb my disgust (a little) to have some context.

(David Bythewood) #543

Caucuses are also fundamentally racist, classist, and ablist. The handicapped, the ill, the poor, and minorities are overwhelmingly excluded from them because of the requirement that you hang about for hours on a work day to be counted. That we allow something so incredibly biased to both help choose a presidential candidate and have so much sway in general is nuts.


How do you feel about rank choice?

(David Bythewood) #545

Rank choice is more interesting. I like the idea that your vote can still count even if your favorite doesn’t get in, and I’ve seen in practice how it can work.

But caucuses don’t. They also have incredibly low turnout. Even in 2008 the turnout was abysmal, and there are often complaints of bullying. It’s the least democratic you can get in a democracy short of outright appointment, turning the race into a pure popularity contest among with the affluence or sheer fervor to participate.


I always liked to caucus because it’s a rank choice process, I’m sorry if you’ve experienced bullying, it’s not supposed work that way. It’s actually about building a consensus.

I just can’t wait for they day when all voting is rank choice, winner take all, vote by mail. That would be ideal. Builds consensus while allowing for accessibility.

(David Bythewood) #547

This ‘Census’ form in your mailbox isn’t from the government. Here’s who sent it out and why

This is not the first time that Republicans have sent out mailers that look like official census documents, although this time the documents are hitting mailboxes just weeks before the federal government plans to begin sending notices inviting people to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census.

A letter accompanying the “census” is signed by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and includes a request for donation of $25 to $1,000 by Feb. 24th.