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

Ensuring free and fair elections is not about party, it’s about principle. 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’s staggeringly embarrassing and really unacceptable for the Democratic party.” An analyst 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 Bernie Sanders, 26.8 percent to 25.2 percent. This is a little surprising, because on the actual day of the Caucus, Real Clear Politics, which averages the results of six different polls, showed Sanders leading with 23 percent and Buttigieg in third place with 16.8 percent. 

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

  • According to FEC filings, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign, “Pete for America, Inc.,” paid $42,500 to Shadow Inc., the company that created the software app used in the Caucus.
  • Up until May of last year, Gerard Niemira, the Chief Executive Officer of Shadow Inc. was the Chief Operating Officer of a company called “ACRONYM.”
  • ACRONYM’s co-founder and CEO, Tara McGowan, is married to Michael Halle, who was hired by Pete Buttigieg in July of 2019 to be a senior campaign strategist.

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

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

The Iowa Caucus was not fair to Iowa citizens

Since 1972, Iowa has been first in the nation to announce their choice for who should sit in the Oval office. The reason for their going first has 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, county conventions, district conventions, followed by a state convention — it had to start really early.”

Candidates spend months talking with citizens in Iowa, and citizens spend much time getting to know the different candidates. After all that effort, citizens still must invest much time getting their voices heard the night of the caucus. To have a tech company come in and fumble the reporting appears to have robbed some Iowa citizens of their voice. It also gave 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 and secure. Reports have surfaced in the New York Times indicating that the app causing the problems in Iowa had been operational for only two months, and that it hadn’t been through any rigorous testing.

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

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

What we can do

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

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

Final thoughts

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

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

If elections are not truly fair, then we are not truly free. I strongly urge you to visit TruetheVote.org 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.