February 6th, 2019

The U.S. mid-term political battleground was particularly high stakes in 2018. As such, the voting turnout was record breaking, including:

• an estimated 113 million people participated in the 2018 midterm elections
• the first time in mid-term history with over 100 million votes
• 49% of eligible voters voted
• the last time voter turn-out reached 49% was in 1966

With such an unprecedented turn-out, it was critical to make sure all systems were running smoothly.

GT.net has been working with  Election Protection, a U.S.-based, nonpartisan coalition founded to empower and enable voters. They record, track and resolve any voting issues to ensure the integrity of the voting process so that all American voters get to cast their ballot. GT.net has handled the performance and security of this issue tracking system for the presidential and mid-term elections since 2014.

Our solution, detailed in the Online Issue Tracking Hosting case study, was built, tested and deployed to allow a network of over a thousand volunteers the ability to enter voting data and issue tickets into the ‘Our Vote Live’ Request Tracker application hosted on the GT.net platform. The data was then routed, classified and resolved as necessary by Election Protection staff and volunteers.

For all three elections covered by GT.net, the program has been very successful. You can read more about the analysis of the previous Elections on our blog: 

2016 Presidential Election2014 Midterm Election


What was new for 2018

In addition to customising the OVL Application, load-testing it and maintaining the hosting platform, this year we stepped up the level of support:

Google Collaboration

  • Election Protection wanted a better understanding of the rate of tickets flowing into their system as well as having aggregate stats available on demand, in real time. Google offered a solution using their Google Data Studio application. Working with their engineers, we were able to tap into the ticket data to create beautiful, easy-to-use dashboards to visualize and aggregate the ticket data more efficiently. To accomplish this, we created additional infrastructure that replicated the production database, allowing the production environment to continue to operate at a high performance level even when reports were at their highest demand.

ProPublica

  • Along with Google, another third party we worked with this election period was ProPublica. This organization is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism with moral force. Similarly to the Google Data Studio data source, we used the replicated OVL instance that isolated the reporting load from processing stress. ProPublica would retain the access they needed to the ticket data while not putting any additional stress on the production environment.

Unprecendented mid-term call volume  meant increased server usage

This election cycle also re-emphasized the importance of high-level stress and load testing to ensure reliability, availability and consistency of performance throughout peak usage periods especially.

We provided around-the-clock Tech Support

  • With our extensive knowledge of OVL and the underlying RT platform, Election Protection wanted us to function as their technical support this election. With GT.net’s default 24-hour support network, we were well prepared to supply our expertise from the very early morning hours to the late evening for any issues that might arise on the day before, and the day of, the election. 

Once again, GT.net delivered when it mattered.