Services & Software

Nevada Democrats to use iPads loaded with Google Forms to track caucus

The party has a two-step plan intended to avoid the reporting chaos of the Iowa caucus.

The Nevada Democratic Party will use iPads loaded with Google Forms to tabulate and report voting results during its caucus on Feb. 22.
Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET's coverage of the voting in November and its aftermath.

Nevada's Democratic Party said Thursday it plans to use iPads loaded with survey app Google Forms to calculate voting results in next week's caucuses. The system is an effort to avoid a repeat of the Iowa caucus chaos.

The app will be loaded onto 2,000 iPads bought by the party and distributed to precinct chairs, according to a memo signed by party Executive Director Alana Mounce seen by the Associated Press Thursday. Google's app will calculate and submit results electronically, while a second step will rely on submissions also being made by phone.

"In choosing the best path forward our guiding principles have been security, efficiency and simplicity," Mounce said in the memo. "We understand just how important it is that we get this right and protect the integrity of Nevadans' votes."

The new process was hastily constructed after use of an app during the Iowa caucus caused confusion that delayed the announcement of a winner in the Feb. 3 Iowa caucus, the first nominating contest of the 2020 US presidential election. Many people blame the Iowa Democratic Party for what appears to be a botched rollout of an app on such a big stage.

A company called Shadow, which describes itself as a creator of "political power for the progressive movement" was commissioned to build the Iowa caucus app. That state's party chairman, Troy Price, said the problem was a "coding issue" with the system, which caused the app to only report partial data. Price resigned his position later on Wednesday.

Nevada's caucuses will be held on Feb. 22.