Republicans wondering why they lost the election to a bloke who failed to solve its economic crisis in four years have focused on a computer system which was supposed to give them on the spot information.
The GOP, which had stood on a perfectly reasonable platform of insulting poor people, women and ethnic minorities while giving lots of money to the very rich, thought they could make sure of the election by running a computer app dubbed ORCA.
According to the Huffington Post, ORCA was a sophisticated poll-monitoring system, which would use smartphone technology to receive more data in real time, and redirect resources to areas where there may be low turnout to get voters there to the polls.
At the time the Romney campaign claimed that Project ORCA would give the campaign an “enormous advantage on Election Day”.
But the use of the app turned out to be rubbish and could have cost Romney thousands of votes.
On Election Day, volunteers reported multiple problems and complaints about the app – one source claimed that ORCA was lying on the beach with a harpoon in it.
It turned out that the GOP had relied on software which not only did not work, but had been released with a training program which could not be understood by the campaign staff.
Tech experts warned that the app’s training manual and its frequently asked questions baffled volunteers.
The volunteers were told to look for a native mobile app when Orca was a web app, and the URL was listed as an HTTPS site, but the HTTP address didn’t forward users to the right page.
In Colorado the GOP campaign office received hundreds of calls from volunteers who couldn’t use the app or the back-up phone system. Usernames and passwords were wrong, and the reset password tool didn’t work either, which meant they couldn’t change phone PINs.
During peak voting, the system went belly up for a half hour and in other cases it didn’t work all day. By the afternoon ORCA crashed completely.
Romney campaign digital director Zac Moffatt later admitted to Cnet that the app hadn’t been properly tested.
There was so much data coming in, in some cases 1,200 records or more per minute, it shut down.
Moffatt insists that ORCA’s problems did not hurt the campaign as it had 91 percent reported into the system.
His opposition techie, Scott Goodstein, the external online director for the Obama campaign in 2008 and the founder of Revolution Messaging told the Huffington Post that the entire concept was silly. If a candidate hasn’t reached voters by election day, it was probably too late.