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County website shutdown explained

Friday, March 4, 2022 by Jo Clifton

Candidates and campaign workers, journalists and political junkies from both Republican and Democratic parties were frustrated Tuesday night while looking for election results on the Travis County Clerk’s website. A site that has been totally reliable for many years was suddenly down for about 40 minutes. After a while, people trying to figure out who had won the early vote were directed to another Travis County site that provided the early vote information. According to an email from Travis County Clerk Rebecca Guerrero, the problem stemmed from Senate Bill 1, which, among other things, “requires video surveillance of all areas containing voted ballots to be livestreamed to the public during the election period,” she said. In order to comply with the law, the clerk’s office had been running four cameras during the early voting period. Two more cameras were added for election day, as required by law. One of the cameras was in the ballot storage vault and the other in the ballot programming room. It was too much for the county clerk’s internet server, which was overwhelmed when site traffic increased as polls closed at 7 p.m. As Guerrero explained in her email, “In immediate response, traffic was then temporarily re-directed to the county’s main site to host the election results. By the time our first run of Election Day results were posted, our team had remedied the situation and the site was back up and running.” She noted that this was the first election requiring streaming videos and the office now knows “how to best manage the rapid increase in traffic and how to best maintain the website.” Guerrero noted that, despite the initial temporary delay, “it did not impact the results being processed. Travis County elections processed and published election day returns in record time.”

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