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Elections

CEO of Tech Firm Behind Iowa Caucus App Slammed Dems’ Existing Tech as a ‘Sh*tshow’ after 2016 Election

Democratic presidential preference cards are gathered to be counted at a caucus at the West Des Moines Christian Church in West Des Moines, Iowa, February 3, 2020. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

The CEO of Shadow, the tech firm behind the failed Iowa caucuses app, criticized the Democrats’ 2016 election technology in an interview last year as a “sh*tshow” and a “tangled morass.”

Gerard Niemira, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and founded Shadow, Inc., apologized Tuesday for his app’s failure to properly report results for the Iowa caucuses.

“I’m really disappointed that some of our technology created an issue that made the caucus difficult,” Niemira told Bloomberg in the aftermath. “We feel really terrible about that.” While Niemara explained that the app itself “did the job it was supposed to do,” he admitted its bug was “anticipate-able.”

“It still failed. And we own that,” he conceded.

In an interview published in Wired in April 2019, Niemara took a different tone in criticizing the data platform Veritca, which was used by the Clinton campaign in 2016, but suffered from multiple issues.

“It was a sh*t show from the moment I started there,” Niemara stated, and posited that he was the one to help fix things.

“These systems, they’re not designed super intentionally from day one, which frankly, nothing in the political tech ecosystem has been,” he said. “You just accrue layers of plaque over time.”

Ironically, Niemara also singled out the “crazy and overcomplicated” status quo while his own app proved unusable for dozens of Iowa caucus chairs, who complained that they either could not sign in to the app or were otherwise unable to report their results using it.

Shadow’s failure prompted the Nevada State Democrat Party to release a statement Tuesday which promised not to employ “the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus,” after initially contracting Shadow to use the same app that the Iowa Democrats attempted to use.

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