Iowa’s Lessons Should Lead Us To Action

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I don’t believe in coincidences. On Tuesday afternoon, February 3, I sent an email to our True theVote mailing list, encouraging people to get ready because we are rampingup for the 2020 elections. Why? Because broken election processes prevent  Americans from shaping their government withthe voice of their vote. As fate would have it, the fiasco with the Iowa Caucuslater than evening proved my point.

Ensuring free and fair elections is not about party, it’s aboutprinciple. This is why the fiasco in Iowa should be troublesome to all.

The Iowa Caucus was not fair to the candidates

As CNN analyst Ron Brownstein said of the Iowa Caucus debacle, “It’sstaggeringly embarrassing and really unacceptable for the Democratic party.” Ananalyst on MSNBC said, “Not only, ‘You can’t trust this party to run a caucus,’you suggest fraud, you suggest corruption, but you also suggest incompetence.”

Caucus results are still coming out at the time of this writing,but with 71 percent of precincts counted, Pete Buttigieg is edging out BernieSanders, 26.8 percent to 25.2 percent. This is a little surprising, because onthe actual day of the Caucus, Real Clear Politics, which averages the resultsof six different polls, showed Sanders leading with 23 percent and Buttigieg inthird place with 16.8 percent.

Polls can be off, but its’ reasonable to raise a yellow flag andconsider possible fraud due to several facts that have emerged.

  • Accordingto FEC filings,Pete Buttigieg’s campaign, “Pete for America, Inc.,” paid $42,500 to ShadowInc., the company that created the software app used in the Caucus.

  • Upuntil May of last year, Gerard Niemira, the Chief Executive Officer of ShadowInc. was the Chief Operating Officerof a company called “ACRONYM.”

  • ACRONYM’sco-founder and CEO, Tara McGowan, is married toMichael Halle, who was hired by Pete Buttigiegin July of 2019 to be a senior campaign strategist.

It should also be noted that Niemira and Halle worked together onHillary Clinton’s campaign, which, as leaked emails show ,coordinated with the Democratic National Committee to betray the Bernie Sanderscampaign in 2016. Niemira was “Director or Product,” creating software toolsfor Clinton’s field organizers, and Halle was “Director of BattlegroundAnalytics and Strategy.”

Without a thorough investigation, I’m not making any accusations.But such coincidences should be a concern to any Democrat presidentialcandidate that is not Pete Buttigieg. Especially since Buttigieg, without anyresults having been reported, tweeted at 10:24 pm on the night of the Caucus, saying, “By all indications, we are going on to NewHampshire victorious.”

The Iowa Caucus was not fair to Iowa citizens

Since 1972, Iowa has been first in the nation to announce theirchoice for who should sit in the Oval office. The reason for their going firsthas to do with the complexity of their caucus system. According to an article in NPR ,“Because Iowa has one of the more complex processes — precinct caucuses, countyconventions, district conventions, followed by a state convention — it had tostart really early.”

Candidates spend months talking with citizens in Iowa, andcitizens spend much time getting to know the different candidates. After allthat effort, citizens still must invest much time getting their voices heardthe night of the caucus. To have a tech company come in and fumble thereporting appears to have robbed some Iowa citizens of their voice. It alsogave their reputation a black eye.

The Iowa Caucus fiasco was not fair to who we are as Americans

Americans deserve voting methods that are well-planned andsecure. Reports have surfaced in the New York Times indicating that the app causing the problems in Iowa had been operational foronly two months, and that it hadn’t been through any rigorous testing.

Furthermore, the app was developed by Shadow Inc, a company whosemain focus is helping progressive candidates “ run smarter campaigns .”  If we said that a different way, the mainfocus of Shadow Inc. is helping campaigns, not the voting process itself!

All Americans should wonder why a state would use avote-reporting software program developed by company that doesn’t specialize inthe process of collecting and tabulating votes.

What we can do

United States citizens on both sides of the political aisleshould be very concerned about what happened in Iowa.  Left to its own devices, thepolitical-industrial machine in this nation will crack our election process inhalf. To keep integrity at the voting process, you, me, and our friends andneighbors need to be engaged more in the entire election process.

It’s not enough that we show up on the first Tuesday in Novemberto vote.  More citizens must participateat a deeper level. We can do it as poll workers.  We can do it as poll watchers. We can do itas people doing data research to ensure voter records are accurate. We canparticipate as part of an absentee ballot review board, or work in centralcount. We can observe the calibration of voting machines. The more thateveryday citizens are involved in the voting process, the more likely it isthat bad actors in the process will make themselves scarce.

Final thoughts

The 2020 election year is shaping up to be a perfect storm. TheLeft doesn’t trust the Right, and the Right doesn’t trust the Left. As anadvocate for election integrity, I say, “OK! It is ok to disagree.  In fact, we need it, we need debate, we needchoice. That’s what elections are for. Regardless of your party preference, let’s work together to support anhonorable process.”

Election integrity should be an issue that unites us. No matterwho you endorse or what policies you support, I would hope we can agree on thatone point.

If elections are not truly fair, then we are not truly free. I strongly urge you to visit and join our movement. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Get involved! Working together we really can true the vote and, just maybe, find some common ground along the way.