Beginning around 7 o’clock this morning, visitors to Wisconsin’s MyVote website were unable to use part of the site to find where to vote and what was on their ballot.
That’s according to Reid Magney, Public Information Officer for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, who says users could still look up where to vote if they entered their full name and date of birth, but not if they used the website’s address lookup service.
“Sometimes people don’t put in addresses in standard ways, and so to help make that work, to make you be able to find your exact address as it is in our system, we use an addressing service that basically takes the information you send and standardizes it [because] there’s variations in how addresses are in there, or whether you spell out ‘Street’, ‘Court’, ‘Road’, or things like that. It standardizes those things and sends the message back to us so we can look in our database,” Magney says.
“For some reason, something isn’t working right with that system.”
The website’s “addressing” service has gone down in the past, but the timing of today’s issue was unique.
“This is the first time that this addressing has gone down like this on an election day, I believe,” Magney shares.
At around 3:30 this afternoon, the Commission tweeted that technical staff had identified an error with a server’s memory as the cause of the issue.
The website’s address lookup feature is working again.
The issues today came as Dane County became the first county in Wisconsin to use the Albert Sensor during an election.
Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell says the security upgrade, which is used all throughout Florida, provides additional peace of mind.
“It’s a relief to have all the latest known malware that Homeland Security is aware of loaded onto our sensor, scanning our network, scanning traffic that both goes through and back out again, and then is also being monitored not only locally but in D.C. 24/7,” McDonell says.
“So, this helps protect against just regular attacks. Racine County had a ransomware attack [earlier this month] and this is happening all over the country.”
McDonell also says that county-wide turnout is projected to be about 25 percent, and that apart from questions about the MyVote website, the election has been running smoothly.
At the local level, Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl says residents could still find their polling place by using the City Clerk’s website, but couldn’t use it to access a sample ballot.
“The sample ballot issue is a little tougher because we’ve eight different school districts in Madison and the ballot you’re going to get depends on whether you’re in the Madison Metropolitan School District or another school district,” Witzel-Behl says.
“So, particularly for spring elections and spring primaries, we can’t just put a sample ballot on our website and have that apply to all voters, but if a voter were to give our office a call, we could help figure out what exactly is going to be on their ballot.”
The Madison Clerk’s Office reported at 4:45 PM that projected turnout is about 29 percent city-wide, which Witzel-Behl says is relatively high for a spring primary election.
Polls will remain open until 8 PM this evening. If you’re in line to vote by 8 PM, you can vote.