Iowa cockup

I wonder how much money it cost to prepare for and carry out the Democratic Iowa caucuses. Because that money’s gone, right down the toilet. Iowa will eventually release the results, but I suspect they won’t have much impact. It sounds like the process was a fiasco, and that the candidates have moved on. The candidates probably have a good idea of the results. The caucus fail could be a boon to any candidates who know they did poorly.

There might be a silver lining, though. I didn’t know that Iowa rolled out some new app for the counting process. According to The New York Times, people didn’t receive training on the app, and the app wasn’t tested or validated. This is a good chance to ask if it’s possible to avoid tech in our elections. Because those complaints and others are going to show up every time.

Bugs. Glitches. Something changed in the app right before the election. Who developed the app? Who tested it? Who monitored the testers? Claims of data anomalies. One person involved in designing the app was seen drinking Russian vodka! Rachel Maddow said that we don’t know if the Russian vodka wasn’t a gift from Putin!

Maybe we can’t avoid tech. The old methods weren’t foolproof. Bush, Gore, hanging chad. Iowa might point to some better practices. Don’t hire a firm called Shadow to make an app involved in what needs to be a fair, transparent election. Or have the company create a subsidiary called Fair Easy Drama Free Election App Builder. Train people on the app. Train them again. Do a dry run. Do another dry run. Tech fails. Plan for non tech redundancy and use it regardless. Compare the results. Have a diverse group of election monitors test the app and its data reporting capabilities.

We might hear later that initial reports about failures and disorganization in the Iowa caucuses were exaggerated. It doesn’t really matter. That ship has sailed. Time to salvage some lessons learned.

There is another silver lining out of Iowa, and this was what I really wanted this post to be about. Imagery! Check out this great photo from Todd Heisler. I love the depth. This had to have been taken early on, when people were energetic and optimistic about the process. I don’t get the sense that there’s confusion or frustration. The light, almost edge lighting, on the heads/hair of the people in the front is nice. For me it adds to that depth. My favorite part is the person in the center in the second row looking directly into the camera. It seems that in photos of groups of people, there’s always someone who locks onto the camera.

A Todd Heisler photo from NYT article about Iowa caucus.

A Todd Heisler photo from NYT article about Iowa caucus.

From Urban Dictionary:


Something that’s horribly screwed up, ruined or destroyed. Originally a British expression. Can be used as a noun or verb.

I think I cocked up my exam last night. 
car accident was a real cockup – traffic was backed up for miles!