How Romney's 'poll-monitoring app' failure cost him thousands of votes
A week before the presidential election, the campaign for Republican candidate Mitt Romney announced that it had been assembling 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.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul in a statement said that Project ORCA would give the campaign an 'enormous advantage on Election Day', but the app turned out to be a failure and cost Romney thousands of votes.
Throughout Election Day, volunteers reported multiple problems and complaints about the app, and one aide said that ORCA (which was named after the whale) had just crashed.
"Somebody said ORCA is lying on the beach with a harpoon in it," the aide said.
According to the Huffington Post, it was a perfect storm of technical issues and a confusing training program that rendered ORCA unusable and completely unhelpful to the campaign.
Long before voters headed out to poll stations, experts warned that the app's training manual and its frequently asked questions could potentially confuse volunteers, the report said.
"One problem was that volunteers were instructed 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 did not forward users to the right page", John Ekdahl, a Romney volunteer who detailed the problems with the app and called it an 'unmitigated disaster', said.
An anonymous campaign source on the Colorado team revealed to Breitbart.com that it received hundreds of calls from volunteers who couldn't use the app or the back-up phone system.
He revealed that usernames and passwords were wrong, and the reset password tool did not work either, which meant they couldn't change phone PINs, the report said.
According to the report, ORCA crashed completely by afternoon, and Romney campaign digital director Zac Moffatt later admitted that the app were not properly tested.