City’s website crashed after record-high visits, clerk says

25 Oct

By Joshua Freeman

High voter interest in Vaughan’s election has driven the city’s election website to crash intermittently today, said city clerk and returning officer Jeffrey Abrams.

“By eleven o’clock this morning we had the number of hits we had for the entire election last time,” Abrams told reporters at city hall this afternoon. “It’s not good the website is down, but it shows significant interest in this election, which is a good thing.”

Abrams said he wasn’t sure how many people might have unsuccessfully tried to access the city’s election website so far today, but added voters could still find out where to vote by calling the city.

Aside form the website glitch, Abrams said there had been several cases of mechanical and human error at the ballot boxes today, such as ballots being chewed up by tabulating machines. However he said the problems were not unexpected and were dealt with on site.

“It’s not surprising to those of us in the election business. You know it’s going to happen and you do your best to be able to recover from it and make sure voters aren’t disenfranchised,” he said.

More seriously, some voters complained on Twitter that campaign materials were being distributed to elderly voters on site at the Villa Giardino polling station, including misleading voting instructions.

Abrams acknowledged he had dispatched a staff member to the polling station to deal with the matter, but said he couldn’t describe the incident as voter fraud without having observed it.

“I can’t tell without looking at the paper whether it was anything more than educating a voter,” said Abrams. “There are rules and we do our best to make sure they’re being followed, but there are only so many places you can be over the course of the day.”

He added the city election staff had been stretched thin after a number of staff members called in to cancel at the last minute today.

Abrams said election results would be available within hours after ballots close at 8 p.m. They will be posted on a stable page that can be accessed via a link on the city’s homepage.

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