Chicago Elections Board website up again after crash - FOX 32 News Chicago

Chicago Elections Board website up again after crash

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

"Unprecedented" traffic brought the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners' website down temporarily on Election Day morning, due to voters searching for new polling places and high interest in the presidential election.

The website was up and running again as of late Tuesday afternoon.

"We are, of course, sorry, for the inability to access the website this morning," Langdon Neal, chairman of the Chicago Board of Elections said. "We were completely overwhelmed between 6 and 8 this morning."

The election board worked to temporarily redirect traffic to the State Board of Election website, Chicago Board of Elections spokesman James Allen said in a statement. Officials considered switching to a new server.

Tuesday's election is the first since the once-a-decade redistricting shifted 20 percent of registered voters' addresses into a different precinct.

Operators were also added Tuesday morning to the election board's "control room," a phone bank where about 80 people answered incessantly ringing phones, which they said came from confused voters and election judges reporting problems with voting machines.

The Illinois Attorney General's office has received calls from voters who were confused about where to vote due to redistricting, spokeswoman Maura Possley said. Voters are also looking for guidance on how to handle the two ballots that polling places were handing out.

"I think the redistricting had a huge effect, even though we [communicated] to every single voter … and we've been talking about it for 30 days," Neal said. He acknowledged that the board of elections didn't anticipate the volume of voters who would turn to the website to find their polling place.

"I think we have done as much outreach as we can do," he said. "Now that we see an increased use of technology by the voters [we're looking into] having a more massive and robust internet system that can handle the tremendous load that we had. We've never had it before."

Four of the city's 2,000 precincts didn't open on time this morning, Neal said, but said there were no reports of voters being turned away. "We don't want to lose one single vote," he said.

Chicago Board of Elections Communications Director Jim Allen told FOX Chicago News that the website has been overwhelmed with traffic, causing the site to crash.

"We have a situation where there are 330 concurrent users. That means people constantly plugging away at our system. That's clogging the pipeline for individual voters," Allen said. "So until we can get that diagnosed and pry those out of the way we're switching people now to the state board of elections site so that's functional as we speak."

Allen advised users to visit which will reroute them to the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Voters can look up information on polling places by entering their name and zip code.

Allen said all of Chicago's polling places opened on time Tuesday morning and have seen long lines. Allen advised voters to allow plenty of time to get through the line to vote.

"We have had lines and we have warned people throughout this process that it is an extremely long ballot. Chicago's ballot, suburban Cook County's ballot is one of the longest in the nation," Allen said. "Even when people do get through that line, it still takes about ten minutes to vote. Just spoke with my son who spent about 40 minutes, 30 minutes in line. Ten minutes was voting."

Allen said he wouldn't be surprised if voter turnout exceeded 70 percent.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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