One new feature of tonight’s contest will be of an app used by Iowa’s near 1700 precinct captains, which they are encouraged though not required to use to report results.
But with suspicions lingering about the integrity of the result from Sanders nail biting 2016 loss, in addition to ongoing concerns about hacking and electoral interference from malicious actors, many have been led to ask just how trustworthy the system is.
Whilst Iowa party officials and the Democratic National Committee have gone to great lengths to protect and promote the security of the app, many questions remain.
“The net result is if you’re running an app on a cellphone that has other apps installed, you really don’t know what permissions those other apps have and if they are in a position to be nefarious,” University of Iowa associate professor in computer science Douglas Jones told the Des Moines Register last week.
In short, it seems that in spite of the best efforts of the party, there can be no guarantees as to the absolute security of the app.
In response to concerns, the Iowa Democratic Party has stated that a number of protections are in place, including paper backs up and providing a hotline should issues arise, with state party chair Troy Price stating “if there is a challenge, we’ll be ready with a backup and a backup to that backup and a backup to the backup to the backup.”
Whilst the focus will mostly be on the candidates, there is also a lot on the line for the Iowa Democrats, with their credibility and status as the first in the nation caucus potentially on the line tonight.