For tonight’s caucuses in Iowa, both Democrats and Republicans will have something in common other than waiting to see who comes ahead via votes in their respective parties, and that is that both parties will be using Microsoft apps to tally that number, a story we reported last year.
Microsoft has partnered up with Interknowlogy to provide tablet and phone apps to help tally the results of tonight’s caucus in order to cut down on human error and speed up the reporting process to headquarters and the media. The hope is to avoid the same debacle in 2012 where it was announced that Mitt Romney was the Republican winner, only for it to be revealed that Rick Santorum had won by 34 votes weeks later. The previous system used telephone surveys that had precincts report their results through a touchtone keypad, and this is looking to replace that with a more accurate system.
Microsoft is providing these apps free of charge, which some are questioning, but the parties are still allowed to keep tallies themselves, which are expected to be compared with those of Microsoft’s apps. Microsoft has stated that the results will be backed up for the cloud as a safety measure, and the results are able to be monitored and scrutinized as they come in, with a means to recognize and flag anomalies.
In a few weeks we will be able to see if Microsoft’s apps are actually more accurate than methods of previous years, and if so whether they will continue to be the go to on elections for years to come.