ORCA

Did Michael Hayden Pick the Contractor for Mitt’s Voter Turnout Website?

A lot of people are laughing at this account of Mitt Romney’s ORCA–and automated GOTV tracking system. Rather than the efficient new system that would leapfrog Obama’s turnout machine, the system crashed even before the evening rush started.

The entire purpose of this project was to digitize the decades-old practice of strike lists. The old way was to sit with your paper and mark off people that have voted and every hour or so, someone from the campaign would come get your list and take it back to local headquarters. Then, they’d begin contacting people that hadn’t voted yet and encourage them to head to the polls. It’s worked for years.

From the very start there were warning signs. After signing up, you were invited to take part in nightly conference calls. The calls were more of the slick marketing speech type than helpful training sessions. There was a lot of “rah-rahs” and lofty talk about how this would change the ballgame.

Working primarily as a web developer, I had some serious questions. Things like “Has this been stress tested?”, “Is there redundancy in place?” and “What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?”, among others. These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions). They assured us that the system had been relentlessly tested and would be a tremendous success.

[snip]

Now a note about the technology itself. For starters, this was billed as an “app” when it was actually a mobile-optimized website (or “web app”). For days I saw people on Twitter saying they couldn’t find the app on the Android Market or iTunes and couldn’t download it. Well, that’s because it didn’t exist. It was a website. This created a ton of confusion. Not to mention that they didn’t even “turn it on” until 6AM in the morning, so people couldn’t properly familiarize themselves with how it worked on their personal phone beforehand.

[snip]

From what I understand, the entire system crashed at around 4PM.

FWIW, Obama’s campaign had two innovations from 2008 this year. For vote trackers–the same purpose as this website was supposed to serve–they had bar code labels for each voter that the tracker would collect on a sheet to be picked up; I assume–but did not see–someone came and picked up those labels and used them later in the day.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @OKnox Look. I learned today I'm younger than Keanu Reeves. I'm not THAT old.
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emptywheel @onekade Also bc they've moved that to EO 12333 so it doesn't have any control.
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emptywheel I'm so old remember when we decided it only fed terrorists to make their beheading videos readily accessible. Apparently CNN is not that old
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JimWhiteGNV RT @joshuafoust: Famous principled conservative Trent Lott just got hired by Gazprombank to lobby against Russian sanctions #classy http://…
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emptywheel @onekade CLICK OUR LINK TO SEE DEATH AND KILLING but the terrorists are the only problem. @shawncarrie @CNN
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emptywheel RT @mlcalderone: Politico CEO-turned-WaPo CEO Fred Ryan stresses winning the morning in meeting with staff: https://t.co/b2gbJLtVwv
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emptywheel @charlie_savage Isn't McRaven's shuffling of OBL photos to CIA to get them classified akin to that? @Krhawkins5
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emptywheel @youbsanctioned So even more cynical than it appears on first glance?
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emptywheel @charlie_savage Which means Hellerstein's SOL?
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emptywheel @youbsanctioned Interesting. Thanks.
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emptywheel @youbsanctioned So why do they ask Treasury and not State for permission?
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