Any Freepers have first hand experience with the app?
Yep, and I can confirm the story.
The system was a total flop and wasted much manpower that could have been used to get out the vote using more traditional methods.
I could not get the app running until 2 pm and then only intermittently. In both emails and in an online Q&A session I asked them if they were going to let users do a trial run and check the system and the data base out and there was no reply. You don’t assume tha a massive nationwide computer application and software is just going to work without any testing or useage.
The entire instruction set was a .pdf of three cell phone app screens. The app was not available until early in the morning on election day, so that was your first look at it. It would have been a failure even if the communications link worked because no one saw it until election day. I consider myself IT-savvy and I couldn’t get it to work - why did they think poll watchers, who are frequently tech-illiterate retirees, would get it running?
The problem is that the people who run these campaigns are political junkies with little experience in life other than playing politics. That’s all of them, from the campaign directors to those young twenty-somethings with their political science degrees who think that they will parlay their campaign work into an influential job in the winning candidate’s administration.
The sad part is that half of them do win and end up running the US government and we are stuck with it and them. Think Stephanie Cutter and David Axelrod and all those Deputy Assistant Secretaries at DHS and EPA who have never had a real job in their lives.
Here are a couple of posts I made about my ORCA experience, yesterday on the NC forum:
Project ORCA... Was anyone else here involved in that?
For anyone who didnt hear about it, it involved being a poll watcher for the Romney campaign, but the idea was to collect the names of those who had voted throughout the day, and to relay that info up to the HQ in Boston, by way of smart phone app. From there theyd apparently bug those Rs who hadnt yet voted.
Really interesting concept, I heard about it a month or so ago, realized I had some personal days I could take at work, and put them all in for this week. Signed up for the program (they called it a task force), and was accepted. Was really excited about helping out. They ended up assigning me to the precinct next to my own in Cornelius.
Sadly it was a bust. That morning I couldnt even log on to the app they provided (actually it was just a website, not sure why they were calling it an app). Collecting the data on voters was next to impossible, as there was one of me, and voters checked in as many as five at a time at two long tables as I sat at an assigned chair off to the side, and as I wasnt allowed to view the books of registered voters, I had to sign off only as many names as I could actually hear. 3% would be a generous estimate as to how many that turned out to be - most people speak too softly. On top of that I had to quickly flip through the more than sixty pages of names I had printed out the night before.
I was told by both the campaign and the poll manager that at 10, 2 and 4 I could view lists of who had voted. At the time I assumed that meant the books, but later found out (at 10, of course, when I was rebuffed) that I couldnt go near the books, and instead had to wait for a print-out of names, after the certifications had been scanned and processed. At 10, and again by 2, they hadnt even begun to scan them, as they were apparently backed up. So, I had nothing to work with.
By 4, they said I could sort through the stacks of certifications. I did as many as I could before being told that they needed to begin scanning, so I had to hand em back. I took the names that I did have, and after spending over an hour bouncing around on the phone with several different kids in Boston, they finally reset my log-in info. Eventually it accepted my log-in and as I began to input the names... the website crashed on me, never to return.
My understanding is that most of the volunteers experienced similar problems. Interesting idea, could really be a powerful tool one day, but this year it was a bomb. Who knows... Ive read that Romney lost OH, FL, VA and CO by a combined ~300,000 votes, and had this been working properly, maybe it could have made the difference.
I think something like ORCA could be a powerful tool. Really, each state GOP should undertake something like this, but combine it with traditional outreach and GOTV. Dont overly centralize it either, delegate it out by regions, to counties, to neighborhoods. Probably better to have a neighbor knocking on doors than it is to get a robo-call from across the country. And instead of waiting for a prez or congressional election to try it out, do a dry run in the odd-year elections.