Wisconsin Polling Place Locator Experiences Election Day Issues

[Image via WUWM]

MyVote Wisconsin, the state’s online voter resource, experienced issues yesterday that affected the site’s ability to provide polling locations in the 2020 Spring Primary. Madison.com has more:

An online system that allows voters to look up their polling location experienced problems Tuesday as spring primary voters went to the polls.

The problem with MyVote Wisconsin stemmed from a server that crashed and had to be taken offline, Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney said. The site was crashing for some visitors, while others experienced long delays as it retrieved information.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, the Elections Commission was in the process of configuring a replacement server.

Fortunately, the state participates in the nonpartisan Voting Information Project, which powers an alternate lookup site voters could use:

The Elections Commission does have a backup polling location service, gettothepolls.com, for voters and clerks to access while they fix the problem.

“If you need to look up your polling place, continue to use the backup site,” Magney said. “If you need to find out if you’re registered to vote, go to MyVote.”

The Commission shared this information about the VIP site on its own website:

The Wisconsin Elections Commission provides official polling place data to Get to the Polls, which is run by the Voting Information Project (VIP), a partnership of Democracy Works and the states to provide official information to voters about where to vote and what’s on their ballots where they look for it most—online. Having Get to the Polls as a backup is part of WEC’s contingency plan. We provide this information to VIP every election.

Late in the day, the Commission said it had identified the problem and assured voters it was purely a technical issue and not the product of errors or outside interference:

The MyVote Wisconsin website’s address lookup feature is working again, but there may be some delays. WEC technical staff identified a server’s memory issue was the cause of the problem and are working to restore the system to full capacity.  The fix required decommissioning a server involved in the load balancing of site traffic, meaning the user capacity of the site will be lessened until a new server can be installed and tested.  While we understand that the timing raised some questions, this was purely an internal, technical glitch, not the result of interference or the lack of testing protocols. 

It’s never ideal for a key voter-facing tool to fail on Election Day, but it appears that the state’s investment in a reliable backup solution and quick action to alert voters and the media of the issue averted larger problems. With a crowded 2020 election calendar in the Badger State, no doubt the Commission and others will be focused on triple-checking its servers and avoiding a repeat of yesterday’s excitement. Stay tuned …

2 Comments on "Wisconsin Polling Place Locator Experiences Election Day Issues"

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