DuPage seeking cause of Election Night website glitch

 
 
Updated 4/13/2017 7:18 PM
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Officials are trying to find the cause of an Election Night glitch that forced DuPage County's website to be temporarily taken offline as residents awaited local election results.

The review could set the stage for officials to seek changes in the way the DuPage Election Commission reports results in the future.

The county website on April 4 had its largest number of page views in seven years -- 369,728 -- as visitors checked it for the outcome of local races and referendum questions. But around 9:15 p.m., county IT staff members learned some people were having trouble accessing the site.

Don Carlsen, DuPage's chief information officer, said there weren't any problems with the data compiled by the election commission. But while some people could view the results on the website, others couldn't.

Multiple steps were taken to fix the problem, but none worked. So around 10 p.m., the decision was made to restart the web servers.

"That process can be lengthy and took approximately 30 minutes," Carlsen said. "When the entire environment was back online, access to the website was restored at approximately 10:30 p.m."

The reboot resolved the problem, but it's still unknown what caused it.

Now consultants are working with the county to figure out what happened so it doesn't occur again. The review is expected to take up to two weeks.

Meanwhile, county board Chairman Dan Cronin is voicing his displeasure with the commission's refusal to remotely transmit results from polling places.

The commission has a long-standing practice that requires memory cards from voting machines to be hand-delivered to the commission office in Wheaton before the data is uploaded into the central database. Cronin says that has delayed the release of results during past elections.

"When you're physically delivering ballots here to the county, it's just silliness," Cronin said. "It's just very, very unsophisticated, unnecessary."

With state lawmakers considering legislation to merge DuPage's election commission with the county clerk's office, Cronin said he expects the Election Night procedures to be revised.

"I think finally we're gong to be able to realize some level of sophistication that we should have had a number of years ago," Cronin said.

Joseph Sobecki, the commission's interim executive director, said officials are looking at new technology "to present election results and all related processes."

"Everything is on the table in terms of improving reliability, the user experience and efficiency while maintaining the security and integrity of the process," Sobecki said in an email.

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