Shadow’s Nevada Caucus App Also Experienced Errors During Testing, Says Report

Carl Voss, Des Moines City Councilman and a precinct chair, shows photographers the app that was used for caucus results reporting on his phone
Alex Wong / Getty Images

The canceled Nevada caucus app created by developer Shadow was also problematic for the state’s Democratic Party volunteers who were testing it, Vice News reports.

According to the publication, volunteers in the state were met with an error when trying to submit test caucus results. They reportedly experienced the same error when they first received the app early this month and continued to experience problems up until this week.

A Shadow spokesperson addressed the alleged issues in a statement to Vice.

“Because the deadline for the Nevada app was later, Shadow’s Nevada app was still in beta testing, and that testing identified some errors that were being fixed.”

The spokesperson claims that the version of the app used by the Nevada volunteers was not “ready for use” and will not be officially released. They claim that a new release of the app was ready for testing in Nevada following the chaotic Iowa caucuses and said it would be prepared for a “successful rollout” for Nevada’s caucuses on February 22.

Despite allegedly being on track for release, Vice reported that Nevada Democrats said they will not use the app after the failure in Iowa. The party also did not respond to the publication’s request for comment to the recent report.

Vice reports that Android and security experts examined a copy of the problematic Shadow app used in Iowa and said that it was “rushed” and “rudimentary in design.”

A recent ProPublica investigation revealed that the Iowa app contained vulnerabilities that left it open to hackers. Although there was reportedly no evidence that hackers were able to alter the results, the report nevertheless noted that the app lacked “key safeguards.”

Shadow has received scrutiny after it was reported that it was paid for services for the campaigns of Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. Many also pointed to its investor, ACRONYM, and its reported ties to the Democratic establishment. Notably, it is run by former Obama campaign staffer Tara McGowan, who is married to Michael Halle, a senior strategist with the Buttigieg campaign.

After the Iowa debacle, The Intercept’s Lee Fang noted that ACRONYM removed a blog post written by Gerard Niemira, who McGowan said was Shadow’s CEO.

“ACRONYM is thrilled to announce the launch of Shadow, a new technology company that will exist under the ACRONYM umbrella and build accessible technological infrastructure and tools to enable campaigns to better harness, integrate and manage data across the platforms and technologies they all use,” the post read.