Fearing Hackers, D.N.C. Plans to Block Iowa’s ‘Virtual’ Caucuses

WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee is preparing to block Iowa Democrats’ plans to allow some caucusgoers to vote by phone next year, bowing to security concerns about the process being hacked, according to four people with knowledge of the decision.

The committee’s announcement, expected to come by Friday afternoon in the form of a recommendation to the party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, serves as a major setback to Democrats who have long hoped to expand the caucus-state electorate beyond those voters able to attend a winter-night gathering for several hours.

The Iowa Democrats’ plan would have allowed voters not attending a traditional caucus to register their preference during one of six “virtual caucuses” over the phone. But D.N.C. security officials told the rules committee at a closed-door session in San Francisco last week that they had “no confidence” such a system could remain safe from hostile hackers.

The D.N.C.’s leadership concluded that the technology that exists is not secure and poses too large a risk of interference from a foreign adversary, according to officials with knowledge of the deliberations. Several presidential campaigns expressed concern to top party officials that Iowa’s results could be compromised, people familiar with the discussions said Thursday.

The Rules and Bylaws Committee has the power to approve state plans for primaries and caucuses.

D.N.C. officials declined to comment. Officials with the Iowa Democratic Party did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Rebecca M | BNN News

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