Technology glitch in Iowa could negatively impact voters' confidence in elections, expert says

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The country is still waiting on the total results from the Iowa caucuses after a major technology glitch prevented the tabulation of the more than 1,700 caucuses. These problems could impact voter confidence in the system going forward.

"Very clearly, people weren't able to tabulate the results of the caucuses," Dr. Laura Wilson said.

Wilson is a political science assistant professor at the University of Indianapolis. She maintains transparency must be key from here on out, specifically with the caucuses. People want to know exactly how the results are being tabulated.

"I think that's one of the challenges with technology anyway, people always worry about hacking, a coding error like this that makes it impossible to count," Wilson said. "People do need that kind of transparency and accountability so they know the results are verifiable, they are accurate and they can trust that they are true."

The details are still unclear about why the technology failed in Iowa. John McConda, a technology expert with Moser Consulting Inc., underscored the importance for people to test apps before they roll out.

"I think it's very important that testing is done by people who know the software and are going to use it the same way the customers are going to be using it or the voters in this case," McConda said.

The good news for voters in Indiana is we use polling machines during primaries, not apps at caucuses.

"It could ultimately lead to some voter apathy for Hoosiers because they say, 'well look, if this happens in Iowa, whose to say something like that wouldn't happen here,'" Wilson said. "Though, I would reassure them that the secretary of state's office and having an election system that doesn't rely on technology in the same way, makes it inherently easier for us here in Indiana."

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