Microsoft volunteered to provide the technology to help tally up the results of Iowa’s caucus, free of charge. Now it will be put to the test Monday night. The contests in both parties are expected to go down to the wire. And the spotlight will be on precinct officials who have been trained on a new Microsoft app, which is meant to cut down on human error and speed up the reporting process. Both the Republican and Democratic parties in Iowa have expressed strong confidence in Microsoft, dismissing late suspicion of corporate influence from the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) early last week. Party officials have said no errors have been spotted in caucus dry runs. But the Sanders campaign has created its own backup reporting system, as has the Hillary Clinton campaign. “It will be interesting to see what happens if and when there are discrepancies between the Microsoft system and either Democratic or Republican campaign tabulations,” Iowa State University professor Mack Shelley said.
… The Microsoft apps will be replacing a phone reporting system used in 2008 and 2012 that required precincts to report their results through a touchtone keypad — increasing the potential for human error.
The Microsoft app allows only credentialed users to report results and will require precincts to double check the results before they are sent off. It also has a way to flag anomalies and will give the public and press quicker access once the results are reported to headquarters.
Not everyone is happy about Microsoft’s involvement. Pete D’Alessandro, who runs the Sanders operation in Iowa, last week questioned the tech giant’s motivations. However, the campaign declined to expand on its concerns after multiple requests for clarification.
Full Article: Microsoft on the hot seat in Iowa | TheHill.