“It was supposed to be a ‘killer app,’ but a system deployed to volunteers by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign may have done more harm to Romney’s chances on Election Day—largely because of a failure to follow basic best practices for IT projects,” Sean Gallagher reports for Ars Technica.

“Called ‘Orca,’ the effort was supposed to give the Romney campaign its own analytics on what was happening at polling places and to help the campaign direct get-out-the-vote efforts in the key battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Colorado,” Gallagher reports. “Instead, volunteers couldn’t get the system to work from the field in many states—in some cases because they had been given the wrong login information. The system crashed repeatedly. At one point, the network connection to the Romney campaign’s headquarters went down because Internet provider Comcast reportedly thought the traffic was caused by a denial of service attack.”

“To build Orca, the Romney campaign turned to Microsoft and an unnamed application consulting firm,” Gallagher reports. “The goal was to put a mobile application in the hands of 37,000 volunteers in swing states, who would station themselves at the polls and track the arrival of known Romney supporters. The information would be monitored by more than 800 volunteers back at Romney’s Boston Garden campaign headquarters via a Web-based management console, and it would be used to push out more calls throughout the day to pro-Romney voters who hadn’t yet shown up at the polls. A backup voice response system would allow local poll volunteers to call in information from the field if they couldn’t access the Web.”

Gallagher reports, “As one Orca user described it to Ars, the entire episode was a ‘huge clusterfuck.’ Here’s how it happened.”

Read more in the full article here.

See also the original article by John Ekdahl at Ace of Spades HQ, “The Unmitigated Disaster Known As Project ORCA,” here.

MacDailyNews Take: No word on what computers, operating systems, software, etc. were used, but it all sounds rather Microsoftian.

UPDATE: 4:18pm EDT: Ah, as per the comments below, it was Microsoftian. (We’ve added the paragraph with the info about the MSFT involvement above.)

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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