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Election results fail for Broome County Board of Elections

William Hall Raine
via Flickr
Awaiting election results in New Zealand in 1931.

The wait for election results in Broome County was a little longer than usual last night – and not because of those  new-fangled, scanning voting machines. We're talking about the getting results up on the Internet.

With the results slow in coming, lots of people got curious about where the data was, and logged onto the county’s election website.  Visitors caused the website's server to crash, prompting the county to send out the following email:

"If users of http://gobroomecounty.com can stop hitting the refresh button and can give the county site a chance to reset, results should be able to be posted.  Again users need to stop hitting the refresh button so frequently. We will keep you posted."

Unintentionally, users had set off something that looked a lot like a hostile, denial-of-service (DOS) attack, where an overwhelming volume of communication sent to a server shuts it down.

The elections office finally began printing results off their computers, as they came in, and posting them outside their office for media outlets. The old-fashioned way. Paper and tape.

The county also made use of another newfangled invention, email, to share results

Things could always be worse. Maryland's board of elections site, which crashed on primary day, and had outages reported by bloggers yesterday, is best known for crashing during the final hours voters could request absentee ballots in 2008, possibly blocking some from ultimately casting ballots.

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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