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General News    H3'ed 3/14/20

Will Apple Publish "Same Day" Election Audit App in Time for March 17 Florida Vote?

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Democracy Counts, a nonprofit tech company based in San Diego, submitted its "Same Day" election audit app for publication at the Apple App Store several weeks ago.

As of this writing, the app has not appeared at the online site. .apple.com/ios/app-store/

For context, a 2016 report claims Apple cut its approval time down to a day to compete with Android. click here

But Dan Wolf, the founder and CEO of Democracy Counts, got an email Thursday morning from the app review department. It said the app is under review.

The Apple email to Wolf came a day after reporters and freelance writers started asking why Apple had not put the app online yet.

I'm one of those writers who called the Apple media information line on Wednesday and Thursday. I also sent an email to their media help email address on both days. I have not gotten a call back or an email in response to my queries.

I told Apple that I had informed OpEd News and Democracy Chronicles readers about the work of Democracy Counts and Citizens Audit of Broward; that the volunteer election integrity group in Florida plans to staff polling stations throughout Broward County on Tuesday, March 17. That's when Sunshine State residents will say who they want to put up against President Donald Trump this fall. I asked Apple to explain its review process. And I asked when the app might appear online.

Broward County, the second-most populous county in the third-most populous state, has a history of problems counting votes. The Supervisor of Elections here admits this and has agreed to cooperate with Citizens Audit of Broward. Florida is routinely considered a swing state in presidential elections.

This is how I explained the cooperation in a recent OpEd News article.
click here

"Citizens Audit volunteers will monitor election results with the help of...election audit apps. The first app, "Actual Vote," will be available for free on the Apple app store; it is not yet available for Android but will be soon. Actual Vote lets volunteers record the results that election workers post at polling stations before transmitting results to authorities. This app allows citizens to make sure the vote count officials reveal to the public is the same vote count recorded at election sites. The hard data will also make it easier for people to present evidence to a judge who will want concrete information and not just allegations of possible election fraud or error.

"Peter Antonacci, the Broward Supervisor of Elections, said, "I welcome it. We should be watched carefully, based on reputation. We've earned it,"...Antonacci told WLRN about Citizens Audit Broward. "Whatever they have to offer, they can bring to the canvassing board and it will be positive. To the extent that we can accommodate their interests under the current legal structure we're gonna do it."

Antonacci, a Republican, was appointed by former GOP Gov. Rick Scott. Democracy Counts leaders wonder if Apple is getting in the way of supporting democracy in ways that a Republican official does not.

Jason Meggs is the director of buzz at Democracy Counts. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonmeggs He said:

"Given its simplicity, the app should have been released fairly quickly. Instead it has taken longer than any app the developer has submitted, and Apple answers his queries with form letters saying they need more time. He is beginning to feel that there is something going on.

"Apple has already caused Democracy Counts to miss a Super Tuesday soft rollout. Now they are threatening to cause D.C. to miss its hard rollout in Florida where it is possible that poll watchers and precinct captains around the state will be looking for it.

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Steve Schneider lives in Florida. He writes articles for Humor Times, Democracy Chronicles, The Satirist and OpEd News.

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