Iowa Caucuses Raise Questions on Future of Media in Elections

The recent Iowa Caucuses have left citizens distressed due to the crash of the app intended to count their votes. Democratic candidates share their stress as the tight race left no room for error. The head of the party in Iowa, Troy Price, offered his condolences and promised measures would be taken to regain accuracy, but the nation has yet to see these efforts. 

On February 3, the state of Iowa hosted their Democratic Preliminary rounds. Troy Price made the executive decision to use a new method to collect ballots. This app was developed to allow voters to simply cast their votes through the phone. However, a crash in the app led to an organizational collapse that left the emergency call center overwhelmed. 

This was the first time an app has been used; hence, the disastrous results have yet to convince voters to use them again. Price, who was head of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns in Iowa, thought it would help count votes more effectively. The state did not commit a full test run before the election, which left a backup call center swamped as the votes were inaccurately recorded 

Price later released a statement saying, “the challenge of reporting data and delays of publishing the results were categorically unacceptable…we demand better of ourselves.” Additionally, Price led voters to believe that the organization would launch a private investigation on the issue. However, he later stepped down from his position in response to the terrible accident. 

The results of the faulty election showed former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg with a slight lead over US Senator of Vermont Bernie Sanders. Buttigieg was determined to have thirteen delegates, while Sanders had twelve. Former Massachusetts senator, Elizabeth Warren, came in third place with eight votes. Sanders suspects that the inaccurate results might have caused him a vote of which he needs 1,990 to win.

Buttigieg campaigned for a recanvass, or revote, and Sanders showed his full support to that idea. After Iowa, the campaigners moved on to New Hampshire where results were posted that weekend which was catastrophic when 3 candidates dropped out, leaving the pool with little to no diversity. As of February 13th, Iowa has yet to be repolled, leaving Buttigieg with 22, Sanders with 21, and Warren, in third, with 8 delegates.

The Iowa caucuses proved that further preparation is needed, as the result revealed the lack of preparation on Iowa’s part. It also leaves the question of whether or not technology should be used again for future elections. Technology’s use in this circumstance did not benefit society as Price had intended, but many believe that a lack of testing is to blame, but it will work again in the future.

Freshman Natalia Harnisch said, “I think the media can be quite unreliable and for such an important matter like this, I don’t think media should be used in future elections.” She also believes that the media has left an opportunity for more mistakes including the chance that a ballot goes unheard which could have catastrophic effects. Her opinion is shared amongst many citizens in Iowa who are not only frustrated, but disappointed in this attempted app’s error. 

The Iowa Caucuses leave many questions unanswered as to how media will be used in future elections. The candidates are still pushing for a recount as they move on to Nevada to gain more support in their campaigns. For now, the media seems to hold no place in elections as the campaigns move forward, looking to earn more delegates in this presidential race.