ORCA Was Romney/Ryan’s Failed Attempt At Technical Excellence

Ars Technica has an article about the ORCA failure.

In the wake of Mitt Romney’s Election Day defeat, frustration with the Romney campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort led to reports of an IT meltdown. Project Orca, the system the Romney campaign used to connect to an army of volunteer poll-watchers tracking voter turnout, quickly became a target for conspiracy theorists, even leading to accusations of sabotage by contract developers. How could the Romney campaign spend so much on technology consultants and yet see its vaunted app fail when it was needed the most?”

Romney’s communications director, Gail Gitcho bragged to PBS and the world about ORCA:

As it turned out the project was the brainchild of Dan Centinello. There is a site on the web that claims that he lost the election for Romney. That’s part of the reason for the ‘conspiracy theorists’ comment above. From that site comes this:

How Dan May Have Cost Mitt the Election

Some analyses within the media have proposed that the failure of Project ORCA (directed by Dan Centinello) cost Mitt Romney the presidency. How, you say? Lets take a look.

Romney only needed to win four more states to have been the victor in the electoral college: Florida, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. The margin of victory for Obama in those swing states was as follows:

NV – 66,379 votes
FL – 73,189 votes
OH – 103,481 votes
VA – 115,910 votes
TOTAL: 358,959 votes

Had Romney increased his turnout by these margins, he would have beaten Obama in the electoral college and won the election. So how is this related to Project ORCA? Two key ways.

First, ORCA was the backbone of the Romney campaign’s election day turnout operation.”

Below I posted about the Obama team’s efforts. According to those sources the Obama team did a very extensive debugging of their Narwahl system that the ORCA team didn’t do. Ars Technica, again, on ORCA:

The system had all sorts of problems when it was finally rolled out on the morning of Election Day, but it appears the real issues weren’t with the Orca code itself or with its servers. Instead, the problems were in execution. Bandwidth constraints, bad passwords and PINS, and a lag in the operation caused by the surge of initial downloads of data to smartphone browsers all caused widely reported frustrations among volunteers. (Having Comcast suspect the spike in traffic on the lines into the Romney campaign was a denial of service attack didn’t help, either.)”

All of which brings up the other ‘conspiracy theory’. Was it a denial of service attack?

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