“At this time, we can now call the state of Florida for Vice President Al Gore” – one of the six major news stations that made the wrong call on election night in 2000.

That shouldn’t have happened. We can understand ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ in the 1940s when human error, a printing deadline, and constraints in technology resulted in misreporting – but not in 2000.

At the dawn of the 21st Century, we should have had the core of our democratic process humming like a well-oiled machine. Instead, voters were left hanging (chads) with the most controversial presidential election since 1800.

That will all change on February 1 when Iowa becomes the first state to help pick a president using cutting-edge election technology, thanks to ACT | The App Association member InterKnowlogy.

The custom app development company is teaming up with Microsoft to launch the latest 2016 Iowa Caucus technology. The secure platform will use apps to connect precincts, parties, media, and voters to ensure accurate, timely results are reported with ease.

Until now, results were tabulated by a telephone system that required Iowa’s nearly 1700 precincts to enter their numbers on the phone’s keypad – not knowing if a mistake had been made. They would then send the results via snail mail to party headquarters to be counted.

As recently as the 2012 Iowa Republican Caucus, there were errors in reporting results. It took more than two weeks to officially declare Senator Rick Santorum the victor after Governor Mitt Romney was initially named the winner.

This year, results for both major parties will be entered and reported via mobile app, which is available on all three major platforms – iOS, Windows, and Android. Each party will have their own certified app (due to differences in caucus processes) that allows precincts to securely report their results.

At party headquarters, there will be separate verification apps that allow staff to identify mistakes or anomalies in the data. If there is a question about the results, precincts will be quickly contacted through the app. Once the data is deemed trustworthy, the results will be sent directly to media and voters through the public-facing app.

The public will be able to take a deep dive into the caucus results and analyze votes from individual precincts. At party headquarters, staff can take it a step further and use the app’s data to look for key insights. This entire process is stored and protected by Microsoft’s robust Azure cloud computing system, which uses end-to-end encryption to keep data secure and private.

InterKnowology and Microsoft are revolutionizing our election process and ensuring secure, reliable, and accurate results to our most crucial form of civic engagement.

And it all starts Monday in Iowa.


Image: DonkeyHotey / license / no changes made