How The Romney Campaign Imploded On Election Day
The ORCA program was a bust. The complicated system, known to only a few, was supposed to promote voter turnout.
Numerous Republicans in and around the Romney campaign called the ORCA platform a total bust, stranding thousands of volunteers without a way of reporting data back to headquarters and leaving Romney central command without a clear view of developments on the ground.
The system was not shared with officials outside a small group in Boston and was kept largely a secret until the immediate lead-up to Election Day. The system was beta-tested on its own but not within technical infrastructure of the Boston TD Garden, where the Romney campaign’s massive War Room was set up. That accounted for a number of the problems, officials conceded, even as they protested to POLITICO the depth of the Election Day meltdown.
There was a total election day meltdown.
One Republican source with close ties to the operation said the system essentially appeared to have crashed on the first wave of information coming in, and never managed to get started again. It was down throughout the day, and while it may have been gathering numbers, it never provided the output in terms of target guidance it was supposed to, said a source.
“The problem is not only that it doesn’t work on Election Day,” said the source. “The problem is, you divert an enormous amount of human and financial resources over many months to [building this]. So that means they’re not doing anything else for turnout.”