UA research team returns from Iowa Caucus

Published: Feb. 6, 2020 at 6:52 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - A team of researchers from the University of Alabama witnessed the problems that came from Monday’s Iowa caucus first hand. They returned to Tuscaloosa Tuesday and later talked to WBRC about the experience.

Cynthia Peacock, an assistant professor in Communication Studies, lead a team that included four graduate students and one undergrad. They attended the Iowa Caucus for a survey project that dealt with the caucuses in general. But it quickly became apparent what would be on voters’ minds were problems getting correct vote totals.

The Democratic Party used a new app to try and tally caucus votes from around the state in hopes of streamlining the process. Peacock said soon after they finished surveying voters on what they thought about candidates and issues, they realized the vote totals weren’t coming in on time. She felt the biggest losers were Iowa voters.

“They show up after work to come out and show their support for a candidate and it could be up to three hours or more, so to be ready to invest that time and then see it not register on the national stage the way we expected was just a lot of disappointment.”

Peacock expects even more scrutiny will be put on new technology related to elections going forward.

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