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Reporting on New Nevada Caucus App, or iPad 'Tool,' Not Filling Observers With Confidence

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/13/reporting-new-nevada-caucus-app-or-ipad-tool-not-filling-observers-confidence

Nevada will be another shit show.

BERNIE 2020

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Wow…it sure is looking like the corporate wing of the dem party holds the patent for stupidity.

If I were the chair of the Nevada dem party I would be looking for a new job right about now.

Count the damn tallies by hand. The only use for an “app” “tool” (whatever they want to call it) is to massage the vote totals in the favor of buttegeig & klobacher.

Everyone seems to know this but the corporate dems and the corporate media.

What we are watching is the slow-motion dismantling of the democratic party by the corrupt neocon (republicans, really) establishment.

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…as the DNC intends it to be.

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In case you haven’t seen this by Matt Taibbi

New Hampshire 2020: In Supreme Irony, the Horse Race Favors Bernie Sanders
Sanders and Trump are political opposites, but they’re on the same path to victory

ttps://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/bernie-sanders-new-hampshire-2020-democratic-primary-2016-trump-951614/

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Shucks, we didn’t learn our lesson with the voting machines did we? Anything that has the ability to be hacked will be hacked. Paper ballots now, and forever. I may be old fashioned about smart phones, but computers have no place in vote counting without multiple backup counting opportunities.

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To answer Caucus Volunteer Seth Morrison’s question, what this does for his party is further weaken it. What it does is perfectly obvious. What it does is make it that much harder for a Dem Party candidate to defeat Trumpo in November. What it does is further tarnish US citizens’ confidence in their electoral process. What it does is further disincline people to vote. What it does is depress the turnout. What it does, specifically, is make it harder for Bernie Sanders to win a majority of delegates pledged at the Milwaukee convention. What it does is make it easier to deny Bernie the nomination. And what it does, ultimately, is make it more likely for Trumpo to “win” in November.

Now, given all of these indubitable, easily observable negative effects for the Democratic Party and it’s candidates, I have a question for the earnest young Mr. Morrison. (Great name, by the way.) Do you believe, Mr. Morrison, that the Nevada Dem Party ‘s handling of its upcoming caucuses, and its use of this new “tool,” are merely unfortunate mistakes? Or do you believe that all this “incompetence” and stupidity are deliberate?

True, sometimes there just aren’t enough O’s in stupid. But sometimes, too, there just aren’t enough U’s in dirty.

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But there are a lot of D’s and R’s.

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In a word: PAPER!!!

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I have asked the DNC for half a million dollars to develop a new technology for voting security. It consists of a soft graphite rod surrounded by a wooden dowel. This digitally secure and unhackable device is then used by voters to mark a thin sheet of treated tree or hemp pulp. The markings are then counted using special optical devices planted in the skulls of homosapiens. These HD optical devices are already in use and have been improved and tested through a billion year evolutionary process. I think giving me money for my process would be a better investment than their current tech ideas.

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QSR magazine - the magazine of the fast food industry does a survey each year of the drive thru windows of every major chain. In each state they send people to the drive thru lines and they place an order and then measure how much time it takes to get their food and whether there is a mistake made in the order. Typically about 5-10% of the orders are wrong. The conclusion of this story above is no surprise - people make mistakes even with the simplest of tasks.

I am very uncomfortable with thousands of precinct captains doing hand calculations to handle the early voting RCV ballots, figure out who has the 15% and who doesn’t, and then do all of the other calculations involved in realigning the votes in a caucus system. There will be errors - lots of them -and by the time they correct them all, and get the final results, people will have thrown up their hands in disgust and feel that their candidate got screwed.

This is why some automated system to do the calculations with a paper back-up is far superior to attempting to do everything by hand. The original app by SHADOW Inc with the data on the internet that assumed good connectivity and a hotline tech support with a public call-in number and an inadequate number of operators developed by a company with links to specific candidates and with people having to download the app onto their own insecure devices was just a stupid way to do the automated tasks.

The proposed Nevada method of using a simple google form to check your arithmetic and an iPad disconnected from the internet with preloaded software (so everyone has the exact same new device with only the election software preloaded) seems like a good solution - together with the paper ballots and the precinct level results also filled out on a paper copy as a backup to check later.

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What is the problem? Maybe if they were not spending even penny and every minute on scheming to defeat Bernie and, instead they concentrated on doing their job: electing a president who can try to save our failing democracy, things would work out better.

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Hi Godless:
It’s amazing the many uses of hemp! George Washington et al grew it too. It was used for rope, and was supposedly in our paper money. : )

“While the Democratic National Committee over the last 10 days has tried to distance itself from the troubled app that threw the results of the Iowa caucus into disarray, a copy of the app development contract and internal correspondence provided to Yahoo News demonstrates that national party officials had extensive oversight over the development of the technology.”
How wonderful that progressives now have to fight the corporate Dems and the Fuhrer to get Bernie elected! If we can win this, we can do anything, lol.

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Agreed - it seems just common sense to have machine counting with paper backup. Toss the paper so many months after the election at some point, but keep every ballot before that and random check a few districts to make sure machines aren’t rigged.

I still can’t support this idea of processing the RCV ballots down to some intermediate statistic (county delegates or whatever they call it) that is passed up to the next level - I want every RCV ballot (early or on the same day) to be treated the same no matter where in Nevada it was cast. Given that isn’t the case, I hope people in all these caucus states wake up and demand some changes. I know damn well in CA that my vote is the same as anybody else’s as it is in all primary states I believe (which is why the statewide popular vote for single vote ballots is a sufficient statistic). I still can’t believe someone in NV or IA wants to put up with that garbage that they are not all equal.

Even though it isn’t used, I’d be very interested in seeing all ballot counts aggregated over the state in some fairly large text file with each row having the candidates names in order (sorted alphabetically would be fine) and the number of times that ranking occurred. The ballot is at ~https://ballotpedia.org/Presidential_election_in_Nevada,_2020 and there are 13 choices (including quite a few dropouts now). I think you said you can rank 5 (or less obviously), so that means the number of possible ballots is 173,485 ( = 13 * 12 * 11 * 10 * 9 + 13 * 12 * 11 * 10 + 13 * 12 * 11 + 13 * 12 + 13). The first thing I’d be curious to know is how many unique ballots will there be? - tens, hundreds, or thousands? (I doubt it will go higher than that). Then of course I’d love to see the analysis where Bernie fits in - what are the other choices where Bernie is first?, who is more often above Bernie when he is ranked below first? Are Pete and Amy ranked close together always? (implying they are splitting the same lane and we are in trouble). You don’t think that info is going to be made available do you?

For early voters, the ballots actually force you to make three choices. Choices four and five are optional. People who are there in person don’t have to give the ranked choice to start since they are there in person and thus know if their first choice gets the magic 15%. Thus, your idea for presenting the statewide results would only tell you about the early voters - which are expected to be at least half of all votes since the caucus process takes so long and only really committed people will stay around for it all. The interesting thing about Nevada compared to Iowa (besides the early voting RCV stuff) is that the delegates are not pledged so they could conceivably vote against their candidate when they get to the conventions.

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That’s one way of putting it. Geez.

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I hope caucus states just switch to primaries. If states don’t want to support elections, then I hope firehouse caucuses, with secret ballots, become the norm. The needless complications and acrimony they create aren’t worth it.

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Well that is certainly the trend - with about half of the states with caucuses that existed a couple cycles ago now doing primaries (Iowa, Nevada, North Dakota, and Wyoming being the only states that still have caucuses for the Democrats - plus Virgin Islands, Samoa, and Guam).

Oh I made a mistake then. I posted 13 states still have it. So some states do caucus just for Republicans?