Iowa caucuses to report election results using Microsoft app

Iowa caucuses to report election results using Microsoft app
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The Republican and Democratic parties in Iowa are partnering with Microsoft to help manage the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses in 2016.

On Friday, both parties announced the development of a cloud-based app that will allow precinct chairmen from both parties to report their election results to their respective party headquarters. 

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The platform is built on Microsoft technology and the results will be stored in the technology company’s cloud platform. Both parties framed the move as a step toward security, accuracy and speed as the state attempts to justify its status in the presidential primaries.  

During a press conference Friday, GOP state party Chairman Jeff Kauffman denied the move is related to an embarrassing mishap in 2012, when Rick Santorum was named the winner of the caucus more than two weeks after the party first announced that Mitt Romney had narrowly edged him out. 

“I don’t think any of this is being driven by past mistakes,” Kaufmann said. “I think this is looking forward and continuing to do everything possible to make sure the rest of the country realizes we deserve to be first in the nation.”

While the error did not change the candidates’ delegate count that year, it put a blemish on the party process. Separately, the GOP completely lost votes from a few other precincts that year. 

The new reporting app is aimed at making that reporting easier and giving journalists and the public more timely information. It is also aimed at flagging discrepancies or anomalies in the reporting. But human error cannot be eliminated. 

“The election was the closest ever in history,” Kaufmann said. “That is not apt to repeat itself. Are we going to completely eliminate it? No. We are dealing with human beings.”

In Iowa, the political parties, rather than the state, run their respective caucuses made up of thousands of precincts around the state. In the past, results were reported by automated telephone system on Election Night and hard copies were sent in as a backup.

“No matter where you live in Iowa, the reporting app will provide secure, efficient, and accurate results for the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses,” said Andy McGuire, the state’s Democratic Party chairwoman.