Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has another beef with big business. His campaign will not use a vote tracking and reporting system from Microsoft in next week’s Iowa Caucus.
In June, Microsoft (MSFT) said it would supply the new Azure-based technology for precinct captains at the caucus to log and report results, a process that has been done manually in the past.
But Sanders’ Iowa campaign team balked because Microsoft executives donated serious cash to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Instead they will use their own reporting system, one they are “more sure” they can trust, Pete D’Alessandro, Sanders’ Iowa campaign manager told MSNBC.
To be fair, political hands say it is not unusual for candidates to do their own tracking, in addition to what the parties are doing.
It was unclear what technology the home-grown Sanders system uses. But some people in the tech industry argue that jobs like this should go to open-source software, which is freely available to test and deploy, rather than proprietary commercial software from companies like Microsoft that could include back doors and potentially be used to influence results.
Such talk once seemed paranoid, but in light of Edward Snowden’s allegations that intelligence agencies used back doors to snoop on people and governments, it’s hard to dismiss it as such anymore.
What software are presidential campaigns using?
Sam Lau, the communications director for the Iowa Democratic party, said the new Microsoft app will help make caucus reporting more efficient, accurate, and secure. He also noted that most campaigns have their own tracking systems, in addition to what the parties themselves use.
Reached for comment, Microsoft said it provided the technology and related services “to administer and facilitate a neutral, accurate, efficient reporting system.”
Fortune also reached out to the Sanders campaign for comment and will update this story as needed.
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Clinton’s campaign will use the Microsoft system, but also has its own backup just in case, according to MSNBC.