As ballots were hand-delivered to Boston City Hall's election office Tuesday night, all was going smoothly and according to plan — until it wasn't.
Shortly after 8:40 p.m., the election results page on the city website experienced a full crash. The results abruptly disappeared, replaced by an error message for nearly 20 minutes.
Not long after officials got the site up and running again, the results page once again failed, showing erroneous results for about 15 minutes. The number of reported precincts dropped from 90 to 30 - with the vote totals completely at odds with the results up to that point in the evening.
Through both crises, the mood among officials was calm — and the majority of the staff continued their work uninterrupted. Votes poured in and were uploaded to the server while the IT staff worked to fix the problems.
City officials said both glitches were the result of high traffic on the site — and visitors repeatedly refreshing their browsers. Unlike previous high-interest elections, the city's website was the only one posting up-to-the minute results.
Gerry Cuddyer, chair of the Boston Election commission board said that the IT staff will review the problem — and she does not expect similar problems on November 5, when State Rep. Marty Walsh and City Councilor John Connolly square off in the final election to succeed longtime Mayor Tom Menino. That election is expected to see a higher voter turnout — and even greater traffic on the city's website.