Skip to comments.How to Prevent Another Orca Flop (Why the Republican GOTV effort failed to match the Democrat's)
Posted on 11/15/2012 6:59:49 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Its pardonable to be defeated, but never surprised. Frederick the Great
Over the past week, there has been plenty of harsh criticism of the Romney campaigns get-out-the-vote efforts and volunteer system. While the campaign has pushed back on these claims, my experience inside a swing-state legal war room last Tuesday leads me to say that the criticisms of the campaigns GOTV in general, and of its use of the Orca system in particular, ring true.
The main GOTV effort was supposed to operate like this: Poll watchers listen to the names of everyone coming in to vote and notate them using Orca. This means that other campaign workers charged with calling folks and encouraging them to vote dont waste time on those who already have. It should be an easy way for campaigns to make efficient use of limited resources.
I know a few things about Election Day efforts and election law. I was an election judge for five years, and I have also been on roving legal teams. Based on that experience and on what I saw on Election Day, here is my judgment as to how and why the Romney campaigns efforts failed, and what future efforts should do differently.
CLARITY Prior to Election Day, the training for Romney poll watchers consisted of large conference calls led by staffers at the Boston headquarters, each with an enormous number of volunteers calling in. Such top-down fora are the completely wrong way to do this kind of training, because they discourage volunteers from participating and asking questions. This left questions unanswered, which caused big problems on November 6.
I witnessed particular confusion about the Orca system. It was basically a Web page that the digital team called an app, leading volunteers to think they needed to download something only to have their efforts hindered on Election Day morning.
In the future, it needs to be clear exactly what volunteers will be looking at on Election Day. Each poll watcher needs to go into the precinct knowing exactly what to expect.
FAMILIARITY Imagine you assigned an employee to give a presentation to a key client. Would you keep the content of the presentation, the makeup of the audience, and the technical aspects of the projector and computer he was to use a secret from him until the day before the presentation? Of course not.
Yet that is basically what the Romney campaign did to its poll watchers. It asked them to show up on Election Day to run a new system that they were not allowed access until November 6. Even if the system had worked perfectly, this would have been a serious oversight, but in many cases the Orca app just didnt work. In our legal war room, we were flooded with pleas for help as Orca malfunctioned. Many users log-in PINs did not work, and the process to reset the log-ins failed. To paraphrase one presidents take on poor crisis response, one would not run a birthday party like this.
For any new system that has to work perfectly on a particular day, basic testing beforehand is critical. In this case, the system should have been tested in states that had late primary elections. In addition, any system must go live long before the day it is needed; in this case, volunteers should have been able to test their PIN, try loging in, and browse through the system to get familiar with it. Any person who has been in business even briefly knows that launches have a soft and a grand opening. Working out these kinks early next time will avoid another meltdown on Election Day.
Further, it seems that in the months leading up to November 6, the legal-team effort was walled off from much of the poll-watching effort. These efforts should be integrated. In my past work on roving legal teams, I was given ahead of time the names and mobile numbers of the poll watchers in each of the six precincts I was covering. A volunteer should not just be sent out by himself to a polling place with no sense of support and no idea whom he could turn to for help. Understandably, without any support line, many poll watchers went home when their efforts to address the Orca meltdown were unsuccessful. There were many important precincts in swing states that ended up without a Romney poll watcher because of this.
I suspect that if they could have texted that nice campaign aide or attorney who had called them on Sunday, they would have done so rather than giving up. The failure to connect volunteers is especially exasperating when you consider that the entire point of GOTV is to identify and personally reach out to voters, on the premise that personal contact is most effective. Why would the same not hold for these wonderful, dedicated volunteers working the polls?
SIMPLICITY When packing for a trip, the most important thing to remember is to bring your photo ID; everything else can be replaced at your destination, but your ID cannot. On Election Day, a poll watchers ID is the certificate that enables him to get into the polling place. No certificate, no poll watching. Every state was different, but if there was a weakest link in the whole Romney GOTV system, it was the certificates.
On Election Day our war room was getting calls, to our confusion and surprise, from volunteers who either had not brought their certificate or had not been given one at all. The certificate should be the most basic point in poll-watcher training; it was clearly not a top priority for the Romney team.
DATA One failure we saw firsthand in the war room was the systems showing individuals as having voted absentee when in fact they had not. And I dont mean occasional instances, but entire lists of people. Part of the poll watchers job is to alert the legal team if he suspects any kind of fraud, and having an absentee voter walk into the polls to vote again is a classic example of voter fraud. But if the lists the poll watchers are given arent accurate, we will continue to have poll watchers raising questions about legitimate voters. Fortunately, election officials, as they should have, used their authoritative registrars list so there were no real confrontations. But this was still an embarrassment and a waste of time. I hope this problem was isolated to the swing state I volunteered in, but it would surprise me if we were the only ones.
REDUNDANCY I was very surprised to learn the night before the election that Orca would be run from headquarters in Boston. When the Orca system was down, our legal war room was flooded with pleas for help because the hotline in Boston wasnt working. We even had calls from volunteers in other states asking us for help getting through to Boston. We were combat ineffective.
Having everything controlled by a national headquarters is just asking for trouble. Election laws are different in each state, and the training and Election Day operations should be organized at the state level. Furthermore, if one swing-state offices power, Internet, whatever, fails, the damage wont affect other states operations. Having a national number as a last resort is fine, but relying on a single central node that could fail is lethal. If there had been a complete network failure the first day that Amazon.com was in business, they would have fixed it and been back in business the next day. But you cant postpone Election Day, and there are no silver medals for finishing second.
From what I have heard, the angriest critics are Romney people who have privately expressed disbelief that others on their team would let the system be designed in such an unreliable and vulnerable way. It is still unclear to me why the GOTV wasnt done by the RNC its a long-term effort and a natural role they have performed well in the past.
The Election Day failure was as if a team had spent a year building a car to beat the land-speed record, but when the green light flashed on the Bonneville Salt Flats, the car didnt start because there was no gas in the tank. It is up to us to make sure it does not happen again.
Michael James Barton is a director at ARTIS Research, and has served in a variety of leadership roles on Capitol Hill, the White House, and the Pentagon.
What amazes me is that the effort of the very capable capitalist was so inferior to that of the low-life welfare statists/socialists. How can that happen? Rather embarrassing.
Earth to the GOP.....Most US software companies are run by HUGE HONKING BAY AREA LEFTIES!!!!
If you want it done right, outsource it to India. At least they’ll do what you tell them if you pay them well enough.
One word describes it: Presumption.
Message gets out the vote, NOT a blizzard of phone calls!
Living in a swing state, I can testify from both ends.
I was saturated with nightly phone calls from candidates and the various GOP groups wanting contributions.
As a precinct captain, this made my GOTV calls very unwelcome, as there is no distinction among the varieties of “political calls”.
More undecided voters are likely to sit it out, rather than support those who harrass them nightly for weeks on end.
I still think the fraud was overwhelming and Romney would have had a hard time overcoming it but...
what astounds me is that, if nothing else, Romney’s biggest selling point was that of a competent businessman and manager.
It’s like someone saying, “Pick me, pick me, I’m the fastest runner.”
So he’s picked and then he shows up at the race without his running shoes.
Of course, just like John McCain, these millionaires just go back to their comfortable lives and screw the rest of us that have to live with their incompetence.
They can’t be bothered to actually fight for us.
The irony is that Orca’s failure turns out to be a confirmation of the Austrian School’s critique of central planning, and a proof that computer technology has not invalidated that critique. (Socialist central planning is simply an extreme point — the critique works equally with any large enough organization or enterprise that has to deal with massive amounts of geographically dispersed information like a U.S.-wide GOTV effort.)
And so where did all the money go? Is there theft and corruption at the top in the GOP?
Are they becoming as corrupt and elitist as the Democrats who are running the big federal agencies?”
I think it’s likely too late at this point, but if the GOP became/was a populist party that ran on low immigration levels, jobs for Americans & getting tough on trade & off-shoring they would have captured many more white voters in the upper mid-west & Penn. The GOP message these days is a mess.
Yep. Our side runs companies and makes things work in the real world.
Their side; well they just take things from other people.
We should have kicked their butts in this area.
Very embarrassing. The political consultants are to blame most likely. They get paid no matter what the outcome.
We need people with passion and fire.
I was expecting another Chris Christie thread.
Most people hate to admit they were wrong. Thus, it’s hard to unseat incumbents. You have to convince a lot of people to admit (at least to themslves) that they made a mistake.
I think a lot of this “our get out the vote campaign wasn’t good” analysis is off base.
Karl Rove does the math in his recent column: Obama got 91% of this 2008 totals, Romney got 98% of McCains. Who had the superior GOTV campaign?
Romney improved McCain’s performance in almost every demographic, improved his % of the popular vote, and a few more EC votes.
It’s just that Obama’s 2008 victory was so large that he had millions of votes to lose and still end up in the winners circle at the end of the contest.
Col West has opened the door.
We must fight election fraud.
It falls on We the People.
Silence is consent
Theres overwhelming evidence of fraud.- Here
SARAH PALIN speaks out on Twitter about massive Obama machine voter fraud:
>Sarah Palin News @SarahPalinLinks Between suppression of the military vote and voter fraud, Obama stole another election. http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/46302 DEMAND A RECOUNT! #VoterFraud
>Sarah Palin News @SarahPalinLinks People need to stop pointing fingers within the GOP and investigate the Dems' massive voter fraud and suppression of the military vote.
MITT ROMNEY TWEETS ABOUT ELECTION FRAUD:
>MITT ROMNEY in 2012! @PlanetRomney #tcot The Competent Conservative: Elections Have Not Yet Been Certified, Heres What You Can Do:
>> These electi... http://bit.ly/Zzam8Y
Excerpt from Mitt Romney's reference:
These elections are NOT certified yet. The only way to get this investigated, much less recounted or overturned, is through the Secretary of State of each of the five key states: Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. EVEN IF YOU ARE IN ANOTHER STATE you can help. But it wont do any good to dilute our effort to challenge California or Michigan or other states. Until a major group gets involved to do more, here is the plan: Contact the Secretary of State of the state in question. See contact information below...
Read the rest- Here
The website,'Barack Obama Vote Fraud 2012' is keeping a running account of cases of voter fraud and what to do about it:
Is There Enough Evidence of Voter Fraud To Merit a Recount? If you wish to add your voice, click here and sign the petition for a recount Here-
< Hannity and Col Allan West slam voter fraud Nov 12- Here
Photo of SOMALIANS brought to Ohio voting stations by the busload, 95% of whom did not speak English, and told to vote for Obama, straight Dem ticket- Here
Must watch videos!
VIDEO-- Programmer Testifies About Rigging Elections With Vote Counting- Here
VIDEO- Illegal Aliens Caught Voting and Stealing Elections In Florida In Vast Numbers- Here
VIDEO- MICHAEL SAVAGE: How Obama fixed the 2012 election- Here
VIDEO- Massive voter fraud discovered in April- Here
VIDEO- Whistle blower speaks out about voter fraud- Here
We can not wait for 2014 and 2016 to regroup and figure out new strategies. By then it will be too late. The Marxist/Muslim usurper will have completed his planned distruction of America. That's what people fail to understand.
We must act NOW.
Start with the election. If we let the Rats get away with this massive voter fraud, we're no better than a bananna republic.
We must keep digging and pounding him every day, in every way we can- phony birth certificate, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, his hidden life, records....
We are FReepers. We must fight!
Those who shrug and accept this atrocity without a fight are not worthy to be called Freepers!
Join us!! See thread, 'BARACK OBAMA FRAUD 2012- (MUST READ- MUST GO VIRAL!)' thread- Here
Another thing. How does somebody spend six years running and lose? And lose to a loser like Bathhouse Barry?
I mean really. You have great wealth to hire and consult with the best of the best.
How do you not have a detailed war-plan down to the precinct level with nothing taken for granted.
Six years, money is no object, and you really, really want it and you still lose?
We told them that playing nice with the media and marxist wouldn’t work. And then they can’t even complete the most basic tasks of GOTV.
RE: Romney improved McCains performance in almost every demographic, improved his % of the popular vote, and a few more EC votes.
2008 Presidential Election
Popular vote Obama: 69,456,897 McCain: 59,934,814
2012 Presidential Election (Still Counting but it’s almost over )
Popular Vote: Obama: 62,820,778 Romney: 59,274,599
See the above Popular vote numbers for Romney? In what sense is it an “improvement” over McCain?
Don't think of them as mere "low-life welfare statists/socialists."
Al Capone was not sent to prison for the crimes he committed or the illegal operations he operated. He was sent to prison for tax evasion. He was living too large for the pauper's income he reported.
These people are every bit as proficient at running a thug-ocracy as was Big Al. And now they run the very machinery charged with keeping their like in check.
The points are not mutually exclusive. Voter fraud and Romney incompetence both occurred. Where is Romney fighting or speaking out against voter fraud? He isn't. He's made a few tame remarks about gifts to minorities. He is not talking to election officials or filing lawsuits. Nope. He just caves. Right now Romney is the winner since Bathhouse Barry has not qualified according to the constitution but do you think he actually has the balls to go after his rightful win? Nope. Romney should be asking for the birth certificate but he'd rather the USA be raped by the usurping marxist.
The points are not mutually exclusive.
Voter fraud and Romney incompetence both occurred.
Where is Romney fighting or speaking out against voter fraud? He isn't. He's made a few tame remarks about gifts to minorities. He is not talking to election officials or filing lawsuits. Nope. He just caves.
Right now Romney is the winner since Bathhouse Barry has not qualified according to the constitution but do you think he actually has the balls to go after his rightful win? Nope.
Romney should be asking for the birth certificate but he'd rather the USA be raped by the usurping marxist.