Florida - Outsourcing Election Night to Microsoft
Every two years we get to raise the question, once again:
"Where were the Florida election results counted tonight?"
Because, for much of the last decade, the State of Florida has had a non-State entity hosting the election night results that Floridians trust are the accurate representation of their cumulative vote.
This scenario is the Florida replay of what we first identified had occurred in 2004 when Ohio's votes made a roundtrip through SMARTechcorp computers, in Tennessee, and George W. Bush beat John Kerry in the general election.
We've only been able to capture records of the IP address for the State of Florida's election night host computers since 2005. Two years ago (maybe four) election results were hosted on computers managed by a company based in the state of Georgia.
If I was Newt Gingrich, I would be happy about that location, if it was repeated tonight.
Perhaps. Or maybe not.
On this nasty January 31, 2012 GOP Primary Night, would I be any happier that Microsoft was apparently hosting the computer that reported the voting results saying that Mitt Romney won, over me, in Florida?
Netcraft is a third-party service which monitors website hosting histories. That is, from the first query, their database records the date and IP address assigned to a computer hostname and tracks changes in that data over time.
The last ten IP addresses on record for Florida's election night results server were reported by Netcraft, on the dates of the screen-captured record, below, (at the website, http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=enight.dos.state.fl.us).
The IP address recorded by Netcraft on January 27, 2012, is the same as we observed overnight from January 31 - February 1, for the host computer enight.dos.state.fl.us. It's not certain where that IP address was located, geographically.
As a candidate running in electoral races of these United States, where the companies with the biggest lobbying budgets win the halls of Congress, why should I believe that behind the scenes on election night should work any differently?
After all, it's this take-all system that I want to control after the election.
We report, you decide.
For the rich history we've recorded over the last half of a decade, please see the following reports.
- Jumping Florida Election Night Results Servers
- Florida Election Results - Hidden Outsourcing Can Take Votes for a Trip
- Mike Connell: A Trail of Questions At the End of the Road
By the beginning of this 2012 election season, our traditional election night salutation has evolved into something of the form,
It's 3 AM. Do you know where your vote's been?
UPDATE: The rest of the record we've accumulated for Florida's election night server IP address is included below.