The Iowa Caucus has historically been one of the most crucial steps in selecting the next president of the United States. Iowa has been the first state to vote for a Democratic nominee since 1972, and yet the 2020 caucus was a disaster. The app used to report the results from each precinct crashed, causing an enormous delay in the release of any results. In the midst of this chaos, multiple candidates claimed victory and the entire mess became international headlines.
The Iowa Democratic Party paid Shadow Inc. over sixy-three thousand dollars, according to NPR, to develop an app to gather the data from each precinct in the state. This is the first time an app like this has been used in the caucus and Shadow reportedly struggled to finish the product in time. The problems with the app became clear early on in the election with local officials describing it as “buggy and problematic” as early as 6pm, according to techcrunch.com.
Many of the issues with the app appear to come from a lack of testing. The New York Times reports that the app had never actually been tested at the state level before the night of the caucus. University of Iowa computer science professor and former precinct captain Doug Jones said that the app “was never really tested in a manner which came close to approximating the real mess of an election” in an interview with NPR.
The chaos in Iowa demonstrates the importance of high quality and well-tested products in making complicated processes, like an election, run smoothly. If Shadow had a higher standard for their app, or had tested it to the appropriate degree, the Iowa caucus would have gone on as planned. Instead it became an international embarrassment for not only the app developers, but also their client: the Democratic Party.
OpenEyes works to serve their clients with high quality custom development of software, mobile apps, design strategies, and much more. All of these products go through an extensive testing and quality control process, ensuring mistakes like the ones in Iowa aren’t possible. Additionally, OpenEyes Technologies is ISO 9001 certified, demonstrating the quality of their products.
The Iowa Democratic Party and Shadow Inc. put their faith in an untested app that was ill-prepared for the job it was meant to do. As a result, the Iowa caucus ended in disaster. The situation presents the danger of relying on untested technology, and the importance of high quality, well-tested products.