Arizona Secretary Of State Spent $750,000 On New Website, Promptly Glitches During Primary

By Laurel Morales
Published: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 7:38am
(Screenshot courtesy of results.arizona.vote)
A screenshot of the Arizona Secretary of State's election results website.

It seemed as if all the headaches and glitches of the Arizona Presidential Preference Election had been addressed. Then the August Primary rolled around and the Secretary of State’s website went on the fritz.

The office just paid $750,000 to revamp its election recording system, which was touted by Secretary of State Michele Reagan as a replacement for a glitch-prone website that also led to reporting delays in the 2012 and 2014 election cycles.

Reagan spokesman Matt Roberts said early Tuesday evening that the office was prepared and had backup plans in place for the new system.

A chagrined Roberts said late Tuesday that "we're not completely sure as to what's causing some of the slowness in the reporting."

Fred Solop, a politics and international affairs professor at Northern Arizona University, said, "It’s a lot of money, $750,000 for an election system that isn’t working. Twitter lit up almost immediately with everybody’s failure to access that system. Throughout the night people are getting messages ‘the system has frozen,’ ‘an error occurs while processing your request."

The glitches came five months after people waited for hours to cast ballots in Maricopa County during the presidential primary. Reagan faced criticism then for not not foreseeing problems with the county's plan to drastically cut the number of polling sites.

And the problems arose one day after the FBI warned state officials to boost their election security after hackers targeted data systems in two states. Arizona's voter registration system was shut down on June 28 over what the FBI described as a "critical threat" and was brought back online July 7 with new security features.

Results came through inconsistently most of the night, though as of Wednesday morning, the website appeared to be back on track with 97 percent of precincts reporting by 7:30 a.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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