There is a certain buzz in the air on election nights that gives voters a sense of involvement in a larger process and state elections officials knots in their stomachs. Will state reporting systems keep up with the deluge of access attempts so common in our technology-driven society? As media outlets and the public at large pound on the digital front door for the latest poll numbers, results portals across the country face the strain of hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of hits. Some falter and are overwhelmed by the attention and come crashing down; others come to the game prepared, having learned from past follies. Though 2014 wasn’t exactly what you’d call a big-ticket election — with no presidential candidates on the ballot — states across the country experienced issues with their election reporting websites. Whether the problems were due to overwhelmingly high Web traffic or just technical difficulties, several states had to step back and rethink their online reporting strategies. With 2016 expected to be a veritable title fight between the headline grabbers like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Government Technology caught up with several states who have seen issues in the past and moved to confront them head on. In Virginia, problems with the state’s election reporting website started in 2008, when online traffic to the site caused an outage.
“In 2008, Virginia became a hotly contested state for the first time in a presidential election in decades, and our election night reporting site saw an unprecedented amount of traffic,” said Virginia Department of Elections CIO Matthew Davis. “We actually had a firewall failure because the firewall sitting outside of our network couldn’t handle the traffic coming in to our site from across the nation.”
Then in 2014, a hotly contested state election brought enough traffic to cause a website failure officials likened to a denial of service (DoS) attack. “Our site just gave up within the first couple of minutes after 7 p.m. that night,” he said. “It just could not handle the influx of traffic.”
Full Article: Is Your Election Night Reporting System Ready for 2016?.