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.


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.


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.

Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @steve_vladeck @just_security This is just stupid. Why doesn't Burke have the inherent supervisory authority to release? Why is he punting?
emptywheel @charlie_simpson You're sure they don't just make rash last minute decisions?
emptywheel Then Enron crashed and I briefly believed I was an investing genius. https://t.co/RI6RE38oSj
emptywheel @hannahgais In 2000, I envisioned starting an investment fund inversely tied to political donations on theory big donors were cheating.
emptywheel @hannahgais The rich people are paying to make sure they aren't inconveniently governed.
emptywheel BillBel should issue a statement complaining that Jeb! used to bogart the joint. https://t.co/TbMdrdtQaj
emptywheel On Same Day Cabinet Decided to Punt on Back Doors, Tim Cook Said NSA Would Stop Asking for Them https://t.co/r0gcDt5yf4
bmaz Jaelen Strong. ASU Sun Devil man. You are welcome Houston.
JimWhiteGNV RT @Steve_Kinsella1: Last #Royals player to HR twice in post-season game: George Brett 1985 ALCS Game 3 http://t.co/uP4EcA3jDJ #ALDSonFS1
JimWhiteGNV RT @MarcACaputo: In eye-drop mixup, Florida Woman mistakenly super-glued eye shut. via @wpbf_terri http://t.co/lu40slNK09 http://t.co/lRTR2
emptywheel @billmon1 Does hitting on a high school wrestler count as moral turpitude bc that's not allowed anymore.
October 2015
« Sep