“‘A Systemwide Disaster’: How the Iowa Caucuses Melted Down”

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But soon the party phone lines were completely jammed. Operators were overwhelmed. Only a quarter of nearly 1,700 precinct chairs even successfully downloaded the app, according to a Democrat familiar with the matter.

“I couldn’t get it to work,” said Jane Podgorniak, the Worth County party chair. “I tried and tried.”

“When you have an app that you’re sending out to 1,700 people and many of them might be newer to apps and that kind of stuff, it might have been worth doing a couple months’ worth of testing to make sure it is working correctly,” said Mr. Bagniewski, the Polk County chairman.

Or, as Dan Callahan, the chair in Buchanan County, put it, “Some of our chairs use flip phones.”

Unlike a primary run by the state government, caucuses are party affairs and they are powered by the dedication of a small army of volunteers.

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