An attempted cyber-attack on the NDP’s electronic voting system Saturday forced party officials to delay the process of choosing the next federal New Democrat leader for several hours, frustrating voters both at the convention in Toronto and across the country. Party officials insisted the integrity of the voting system was not compromised, but acknowledged that the would-be hacker managed to “mess” it up enough to cause lengthy delays. “The system has not been compromised,” said Brad Lavigne, a former party national director who was dispatched to explain the problem to reporters. “The system was not hacked. It was never even close to being hacked.” Lavigne said someone outside the party tried to get access to the system, triggering alarms that caused the system to shut down. “The analogy that can be used is that somebody was trying to break into our house and the alarm went off and the robbers were scared away.” He stopped short of suggesting someone was deliberately trying to sabotage the NDP leadership process.
… Earlier, officials would say only that the system had been overwhelmed due to an unanticipated crush of voters all trying to cast their online ballots at the same time. But that explanation was met with skepticism, since fewer than 10,000 New Democrats actually voted electronically on Saturday; the vast majority, some 56,000, had cast their ballots in advance.
The party hired Scytl, a Spanish-based company that specializes in electronic voting security, to run the online voting system. Results from the second round of voting were delayed about two hours to give every member who wanted to vote a chance to do so. For those who voted in person at the convention, lengthy lineups at voting stations formed as the delays pushed balloting well into the afternoon.