yesIssie LapowskyNone
×

Get access to Protocol

Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

I’m already a subscriber
Politics

Nevada Dems seek volunteer tech support for their caucus

Do you know how to use Google Forms and iPads? The Nevada Democrats could use your help.

Nevada Dems seek volunteer tech support for their caucus

Like the Iowa Democratic Party, the Nevada party had planned to use an app to tabulate and report results. But Nevada party leaders scrapped that plan after watching what happened in Iowa.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Democrats desperately want to avoid another Iowa — that is, another technical snafu that derails a crucial state caucus. And so, with just days to go before the Nevada caucus, Democrats are recruiting volunteers with basic tech skills to sit at major precincts throughout the state and help precinct captains troubleshoot snags as they arise.

It's kind of like teaching your parents how to use their new iPhones at Christmas, only in this case, it's the democratic process at stake.

Over the last week, links to a sign up form have been circulating on Twitter, as well as Democratic mailing lists and Slack channels. It asks for technical volunteers to come to Nevada and "pair up with a Precinct Captain — in real life! — on the day of the caucus."

Get what matters in tech, in your inbox every morning. Sign up for Source Code.

The Nevada Democratic Party didn't respond to Protocol's request for comment on this recruiting push. But according to a Democratic source who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the party, the effort was spearheaded by several top Democratic technologists who were alarmed by the Iowa debacle and concerned that the Democratic National Committee, still reeling from the fallout, might not have the bandwidth to prevent a similar catastrophe in Nevada. Those technologists include Raffi Krikorian, former chief technologist of the Democratic National Committee; Osi Imeokparia, former chief product officer for Hillary for America; and Lindsey Schuh Cortes, former CEO of the Democratic data analytics company BlueLabs. They declined Protocol's interview requests.

According to the source, some 50 technical volunteers across the country have signed up to help so far. That's hardly enough to pair a live tech-troubleshooter with every precinct captain in the state, which has approximately 2,000 precincts.

One recruiting message reviewed by Protocol specified that would-be volunteers should be able to, at a minimum, debug simple technology issues, use basic tech tools like PDFs and Google Docs, and communicate via Slack and Signal.

The organizers also tapped into a group called DigiDems, which was founded after the 2016 election specifically to embed technologists in campaigns. A representative from DigiDems confirmed that some of its alumni are volunteering on the ground to support early vote operations in Nevada.

Like the Iowa Democratic Party, the Nevada party had planned to use an app, built by a startup called Shadow, to tabulate and report results. But Nevada party leaders scrapped that plan after watching what happened in Iowa. Last week, the party announced that it would instead use a Google Forms calculator, which would be preloaded on iPads purchased by the party, and could be used only by precinct captains. State party officials said they worked with the DNC and the Department of Homeland Security to develop this new process.

The problem with Shadow's app stemmed from a flaw in the way the app transmitted data to the party's headquarters. That app was hastily built just a few months before the caucus, leaving people both inside and outside of the party to wonder why Iowa would take a gamble on such an untested tool.

Google Forms is certainly not untested. But that doesn't guarantee a smooth caucus night. According to POLITICO, volunteers in Nevada are already reporting rushed training sessions that fail to adequately explain how to use the iPads and Google Forms. That's particularly problematic for older volunteers who are unfamiliar with the technology.

"There were old ladies looking at me like, 'Oh, we're going to have iPads,'" one volunteer told POLITICO. The hope is that having people in the room with even rudimentary tech literacy skills could help bridge that knowledge gap.

Of course, not all of the issues in Iowa had to do with tech. The party's phone lines were also overwhelmed by 4chan trolls urging one another to "clog the lines," after the Iowa Democrats made their phone number public. The Nevada Democrats have reportedly learned from that mistake as well: This time around, only precinct chairs will have access to the reporting hotline.

Protocol | Fintech

Jack Dorsey is so money: What Tidal and banking do for Square

Teaming up with Jay-Z's music streaming service may seem like a move done for flash, but it's ultimately all about the money (and Cash).

Jay-Z performs at the Tidal-X concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2017.

Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

It was a big week for Jack Dorsey, who started by turning heads in Wall Street, and then went Hollywood with an unexpected music-streaming deal.

Dorsey's payments company, Square, announced Monday that it now has an actual bank, Square Financial Services, which just got a charter approved. On Thursday, Dorsey announced Square was taking a majority stake in Tidal, the music-streaming service backed by Jay-Z, for $297 million.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

Sponsored Content

The future of computing at the edge: an interview with Intel’s Tom Lantzsch

An interview with Tom Lantzsch, SVP and GM, Internet of Things Group at Intel

An interview with Tom Lantzsch

Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corporation

Edge computing had been on the rise in the last 18 months – and accelerated amid the need for new applications to solve challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Tom Lantzsch, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Internet of Things Group (IoT) at Intel Corp., thinks there are more innovations to come – and wants technology leaders to think equally about data and the algorithms as critical differentiators.

In his role at Intel, Lantzsch leads the worldwide group of solutions architects across IoT market segments, including retail, banking, hospitality, education, industrial, transportation, smart cities and healthcare. And he's seen first-hand how artificial intelligence run at the edge can have a big impact on customers' success.

Protocol sat down with Lantzsch to talk about the challenges faced by companies seeking to move from the cloud to the edge; some of the surprising ways that Intel has found to help customers and the next big breakthrough in this space.

What are the biggest trends you are seeing with edge computing and IoT?

A few years ago, there was a notion that the edge was going to be a simplistic model, where we were going to have everything connected up into the cloud and all the compute was going to happen in the cloud. At Intel, we had a bit of a contrarian view. We thought much of the interesting compute was going to happen closer to where data was created. And we believed, at that time, that camera technology was going to be the driving force – that just the sheer amount of content that was created would be overwhelming to ship to the cloud – so we'd have to do compute at the edge. A few years later – that hypothesis is in action and we're seeing edge compute happen in a big way.

Keep Reading Show less
Saul Hudson
Saul Hudson has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, especially in understanding and targeting messages in cutting-edge technologies. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, in helping companies to build passionate audiences and accelerate their growth. Hudson has reported from more than 30 countries, from war zones to boardrooms to presidential palaces. He has led multinational, multi-lingual teams and managed operations for hundreds of journalists. Hudson is a Managing Partner at Angle42, a strategic communications consultancy.
People

Google’s trying to build a more inclusive, less chaotic future of work

Javier Soltero, the VP of Workspace at Google, said time management is everything.

With everyone working in new places, Google believes time management is everything.

Image: Google

Javier Soltero was still pretty new to the G Suite team when the pandemic hit. Pretty quickly, everything about Google's hugely popular suite of work tools seemed to change. (It's not even called G Suite anymore, but rather Workspace.) And Soltero had to both guide his team through a new way of working and help them build the tools to guide billions of Workspace users.

This week, Soltero and his team announced a number of new Workspace features designed to help people manage their time, collaborate and get stuff done more effectively. It offered new tools for frontline workers to communicate better, more hardware for hybrid meetings, lots of Assistant and Calendar features to make planning easier and a picture-in-picture mode so people could be on Meet calls without really having to pay attention.

Keep Reading Show less
David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

Transforming 2021

Blockchain, QR codes and your phone: the race to build vaccine passports

Digital verification systems could give people the freedom to work and travel. Here's how they could actually happen.

One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

Photo: CommonPass

There will come a time, hopefully in the near future, when you'll feel comfortable getting on a plane again. You might even stop at the lounge at the airport, head to the regional office when you land and maybe even see a concert that evening. This seemingly distant reality will depend upon vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule, an open-sourced digital verification system and, amazingly, the blockchain.

Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

Keep Reading Show less
Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Power

Google wants to help you get a life

Digital car windows, curved AR glasses, automatic presentations and other patents from Big Tech.

A new patent from Google offers a few suggestions.

Image: USPTO

Another week has come to pass, meaning it's time again for Big Tech patents! You've hopefully been busy reading all the new Manual Series stories that have come out this week and are now looking forward to hearing what comes after what comes next. Google wants to get rid of your double-chin selfie videos and find things for you as you sit bored at home; Apple wants to bring translucent displays to car windows; and Microsoft is exploring how much you can stress out a virtual assistant.

And remember: The big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future.

Keep Reading Show less
Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Latest Stories