The Nevada Caucus faced a number of concerns before the precinct doors even opened today. Voters wondered about the app being used, NDAs, and more. Even a “voter protection” employee got some scrutiny earlier. Here’s a roundup of the issues and the facts behind them.
Nevada Volunteers Said Their Own Shadow App Had Problems During Testing, So They Won’t Use It
After the Iowa caucus, Nevada Democratic Party chair William McCurdy II released a statement: “NV Dems can confidently say that what happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada on February 22nd. We will not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus. We had already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward.”
At one point, the Nevada Democratic Party was considering using Shadow’s app too. Nevada State Democratic Party volunteers said their version of the Shadow app encountered problems when they were beta testing it, Vice reported. Volunteers encountered an error when they tried to submit caucus results. According to Vice, the Shadow app was supposed to be used for sharing early vote totals but it wasn’t supposed to tabulate final results.
The Nevada Democratic Party has since said that it won’t be using the Shadow app to report results of its caucus on February 22, although it had previously planned to do so, NBC News reported.
Nevada’s App Is a Secure Google Form
Instead of an app by Shadow, Inc., the Nevada Democratic Party is using a Google form that can only be accessed by iPads owned by the state Democratic party, The Hill reported. This form will combine precinct leaders’ results with the results of early voters. It’s being referred to as a “caucus calculator” by some.
The iPad will have Cisco Systems security software on them, Washington Post reported. They’ll have just one icon that uses cellular data to connect to the Google Cloud document.
Paper forms, signed by a representative from each campaign, will be used as backup forms if a review is needed.
Caucus chairs will also have a paid phone number to call that won’t be distributed until Saturday morning, The Hill reported. There will also be two hotlines, one for volunteer troubleshooting and one for questions from voters.
NDAs Were Questioned
Caucus leaders were also asked to sign an NDA, CNN reported. An official with the Nevada State Democratic Party (NSDP) told CNN that NDAs were standard practice because of strategic party information, and they were also used in 2018. CNN said the NDAs appeared to be used for other NSDP events also.
One line reads: “If I am a volunteer and answering phones at the NSDP office or volunteering at an official NSDP event, I am a representative of the NSDP and am not authorized to speak to the press unless given permission by the Executive Director or Communications Director.”
All contact from reporters should be referred to the Executive Director or the Communications Director, the NDA reads.
One volunteer quit after reading the NDA.
The Nevada Independent reported that the Nevada State Democratic Party later said the NDAs were voluntary and not required.
About 1,000 Early Voters Had Voided Ballots
About 1,000 early voters had voided ballots, The Nevada Independent reported. Sanders’ campaign said this did not affect his voters more than others. Most of the issues were because the ballots didn’t have signatures.
Sanders’ Campaign Said a Questioned Voting Director Would Not Have Have Decision-Making Authority
A few weeks ago, another question arose about a woman hired to be the Voter Protection Director at the Nevada State Democratic Party. Emily Goldman grabbed attention when she changed her LinkedIn page to list herself as the Voter Protection Director, and some people noticed that she had been a full-time organizer for Pete for America before being hired for the new job.
Heavy reviewed some of Goldman’s Twitter posts, and although she had positive posts about Pete Buttigieg (as expected for someone who works full-time for the campaign), Heavy couldn’t find any negative posts about Bernie Sanders or other candidates. Heavy reached out to the Nevada Democratic Party, but they did not respond.
Goldman made her Twitter account private and removed all her information from LinkedIn. However, Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, assured supporters that he and Sanders were not concerned about the hire.
Shakir wrote: “Appreciate the concerns here. We’ve spoken with the Nevada party, which has assured us that this individual does not have decision-making authority over the caucus count. Pls know we are working hard with the party to get every assurance that mistakes of Iowa are not repeated.”
So far, it appears Nevada is doing a lot to assure voters and try to have a smooth caucus that doesn’t end up like Iowa.