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A screen shot of the Iowa Secretary of State website during Election Day in November 2012. Officials say they've made improvements. 

DES MOINES | Election night 2012 arguably was the biggest night of that year for the Iowa Secretary State’s office.

Its website was expected to handle tens of thousands of simultaneous views at any given time as people across the state, and potentially the world, pulled it up to follow the election night tallies for president, Congress and a host of other races.

It crashed.

“The performance of the previous system was unsatisfactory,” Secretary of State spokesman Chance McElhaney said. “The site did go down for about an hour. We wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again.”

The office is using a new vendor, Vancouver, Wash.-based Arikkan Inc., and McElhaney promises the company will be able handle the workload of posting vote totals from 1,682 precincts, plus 100 absentee precincts no matter how many people log in to watch the updates following the voting in Tuesday's primary.

“The election night reporting system cost $260,040 to build, test, host and maintain by Arikkan and Chaves Consulting,” McElhaney said. “This is the same vendor that maintains the statewide voter registration system, and the founder of the company was involved in its development and implementation.”

McElhaney and Sarah Reisetter, the director of elections, discussed some additional information voters might want to know in advance of the upcoming primary.

When can I vote?

Voters can vote early in-person by absentee ballot at their county auditor’s office until 5 p.m. Monday.

Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

How can I tell if I’m registered to vote?

Voters who are unsure of their registration status can check with their county auditor or check out the Secretary of State’s website at

Iowans who were not registered to vote by May 23 can use same-day registration.

What do I need for same-day voter registration?

People who want to register on the day of the election must have proof of identification and proof of address. A driver’s license with a current address qualifies. For people who don’t have access to that, there are options posted on the Secretary of State’s website at Election officials also should have a list of acceptable forms of identification.

When are results posted?

Reisetter said the first results should be posted between 9:30 and 10 p.m. How late it runs until the final tally is known depends on several factors. “Basically, it’s as quickly as the counties can get the data files to our sites,” she said. “With a primary election, results can sometimes take a little longer because you can get a lot of write-in votes so they have to go through those by hand.”


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