Iowa caucuses enter 21st century with new app for 2016

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Des Moines, Iowa (CNN)Both major parties jointly announced new technology in Iowa Friday afternoon that they say will deliver more accurate results in next year's state presidential caucuses.

Next year's caucus results will be delivered through a mobile-enabled, cloud-based platform powered by Microsoft. The app was developed by Microsoft partner Interknowlogy, which also created the technology behind CNN's Magic Wall. Microsoft said the service would be available at no charge to either party.
Precinct chairs will enter the results from their precincts on a new mobile app, available on major platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows, Democratic Party Chair Dr. Andy McGuire explained.
    "Each party will also have a separate verification app which will automatically alert us if there are anomalies in the data," McGuire said, adding that the party would work out discrepancies with precinct chairs on a case-by-case basis.
    Previously, caucus results were calculated by automated telephone surveys and paper forms as a backup.
    In 2012, the Republican Party of Iowa declared Mitt Romney the official winner of the Iowa caucus. Days later, Rick Santorum was declared to have actually won the state by 34 votes. While Santorum had a slight advantage in the certified tally, results from eight precincts were missing and will never be recovered -- a fact that leaves the question of who actually finished first in the caucuses unanswered.
    But Kaufmann said Friday's announcement isn't about what happened last time. "I don't think any of this is being driven by past mistakes. I think this is looking forward and continuing to do everything possible," he said.
    "Being first in the nation is incredibly important to Iowa in both the democratic and republican parties here. We value it deeply and will work together with a united front to preserve our first in the nation status," Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann said.