Skip to main content

You can now download the faulty app that caused the Iowa Caucus meltdown

The app that caused the Iowa caucus meltdown on Monday is now available to download. 

IowaReporter, an app developed by Shadow Inc to help poll workers avoid potential clerical error and provide early caucus results, ended up causing a nationwide meltdown when its code failed, significantly delaying results from the caucuses.

The app has since been taken offline, but if you’re curious as to what caused all the fuss, you can download it on Motherboard’s website

As of February 5, two days after the caucuses, there are still no clear results for who won the Iowa caucus, with only 86 percent of precincts reporting. Paper ballots are being recounted, and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said it would not use the app in any other state’s primary election. 

The app’s functions were simple enough: Precinct chairs logged in using a specified PIN, then entered the number of participants and the totals from the first and second round of the caucus. The app was then supposed to tally how many delegates would be awarded to each candidate and send it off to Google Cloud Functions’ backend

The data points precinct chairs entered, however, were not the problem. Once the results were ready to be moved from the app to the third-party cloud backend, a “data-formatting error” occurred in the code, making it impossible to fix in such a short time frame. 

According to ProPublica, the app’s simplicity also opened it up to potential hacking

“The IowaReporter app was so insecure that vote totals, passwords, and other sensitive information could have been intercepted or even changed,” according to officials at Massachusetts-based Veracode who spoke to ProPublica. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also offered to test the app beforehand, but the state’s Democratic Party declined. 

In an effort at transparency, Motherboard is releasing the app to allow developers and politicians alike to learn from the mistakes of Monday night. 

The IowaReporter app was meant to mend the historically banal process of vote counting and revitalize the way results are reported with the helping hand of technology — something the DNC pushed to pioneer. Instead, it opened the election up to potential tampering and perhaps showed the country that elections may not be ready for tech assistance just yet. 

Editors' Recommendations

Meira Gebel
Meira Gebel is a freelance reporter based in Portland. She writes about tech, social media, and internet culture for Digital…
Why wait? You can download the Google Stadia Android app right now
google stadia vs nvidia geforce now controller  1

Google Stadia doesn't officially launch until November 19, and when the streaming service does launch, its mobile compatibility will be limited to a selection of Google Pixel devices. If you happen to own one of those devices, however, you can install the official Android app right now and prepare to play your favorite games on the go.

There isn't much you can actually do with the official Stadia app yet, but you can download it for free to Google Pixel 2 devices and up, provided they are running Android 6.0 or later. The app will also work on the Chrome OS tablets like the Pixel Slate, HP Chromebook X2, and Acer Chromebook Tab 10, if you want to play on a bigger screen while you're traveling.

Read more
You can now search the Apple Store app using your voice
apple work on self driving cars store feat

Need to find something on the Apple Store app? Apple is making that a bit easier for you. The app has been updated to version 5.1, and finally, is beginning to look more like the App Store and iTunes Store. The new search interface displays trending searches if you're not entirely sure of what you're looking for, and also has a new microphone icon that, as you might suspect, lets you search via voice rather than text.

If you check out the Apple Store app -- which you might use if you're interested in seeing MacBooks, iPhones, or compatible accessories available for purchase -- you can now tap on the microphone button and simply say your keyword. From there, voice search will take you to the correct results page, making for a much more streamlined search process.

Read more
Like that restaurant pic on Snapchat? Now you can book a table within the app
Snapchat context cards

Snaps are becoming useful for more than casual conversations — a new feature now allows Snapchatters to find more details about a photo, or even make a reservation right inside the app with a simple swipe. On Tuesday, October 10, Snapchat launched Context Cards, a new feature designed for learning more about a Snap.

With Context Cards, users can swipe up on a photo for easy access to a number of related tools, not unlike the phone numbers, hours, and quick links that pop up in Google ahead of the actual search results when looking for a business. For example, if the Snap has a location-based sticker for a restaurant, swiping up allows you to see the reviews, hours, or menu, book a table, or get an Uber to that location.

Read more