Microsoft’s Voting App Experiences Glitches in Iowa

February 2, 2016, 3:47 PM UTC
Residents Cast Votes During The First In The Nation Iowa Caucus
Extra Republican caucus ballots are cut at the Adel Elementary School during the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus in Adel, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won the Iowa Republican caucuses in an upset over billionaire Donald Trump, while Democrat Hillary Clinton was clinging to a narrow edge over Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

Presidential candidates weren’t the only ones holding their breath in Iowa Monday night.

Microsoft provided free vote-counting technology for the Democratic and Republican Iowa caucuses, allowing volunteers to tabulate votes via mobile apps for the first time. But at some points throughout Monday night, users took to Twitter to complain that the technology was crashing.

Microsoft told USA Today that the technology worked without a hitch, though the Democratic and Republican Party Iowa Caucus websites became overwhelmed by traffic at one point. Fortune has also reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update this article with additional information.

In an interview with Mashable Monday night, Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Technology and Civic Engagement Dan’l Lewin said that the parties trained their own precinct leaders to use the reporting app. “It’s a similar process to what’s been run, but what we’ve just got now is this interesting architectural overlay of using devices and the web as a transport,” he said.

The technology was built with a number of safeguards, including a results verification app that party staffers will be able to monitor for irregularities, according to the Iowa Democratic Party. Additionally, paper ballots will be retained if an audit needs to be performed.

The technology, which Microsoft said was designed to “facilitate accuracy and efficiency of the reporting process,” comes on the heels of a disastrous 2012 Republican Iowa Caucus, when unaccounted-for votes in a close race between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum caused party-wide confusion.



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