[telecom] ORCA, Mitt Romney's high-tech get-out-the-vote program, crashed on Election Day

ORCA, Mitt Romney's high-tech get-out-the-vote program, crashed on Election Day Online voter-turnout system failed Tuesday

By Michael Kranish Globe Staff / November 9, 2012

WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney's online voter-turnout operation suffered a meltdown on Election Day, resulting in a crucial 90-minute "buckling" of the system in Boston and the inability of some campaign workers across the country to use a vital smartphone program, according to campaign officials and volunteers.

Code-named ORCA, the program was kept secret until just before the election in order to prevent hacking of the system. It was then trumpeted by Romney's aides as an unrivaled high-tech means of communicating with more than 30,000 field workers who were stationed at polling places on Election Day. Those volunteers were supposed to track who voted and to alert Boston headquarters if turnout was lower than expected at key precincts.

But at Boston's TD Garden, where 800 Romney workers were staffing phones and computers in coordination with the field workers to oversee the turnout, the surge in traffic was so great that the system didn't work for 90 minutes, causing panic as staffers frantically tried to restore service. Some campaign workers also reported that they had incorrect PINS and had not been informed that they needed certification to work at polling places.


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