Mitt Romney's election-day GOTV system known as "Project ORCA" simply did not work, and some people saw it coming a mile away. Writing at Ace of Spades, Romney volunteer JohnE says:
Working primarily as a web developer, I had some serious questions. Things like "Has this been stress tested?", "Is there redundancy in place?" and "What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?", among others. These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions). The Unmitigated Disaster Known as Project ORCA
Although the developers usually get blamed, dramatic failures of this scope start before code is ever written. They fail because the project had an irrational timeline, a feature set that was too broad or hand-wavy, and/or the manager staffed the wrong team.
Or maybe there was no plan. Someone said "I have an idea," and someone else said "I know a guy," the money person said "Git-R-Done," and they rolled. Possibly with A-Team montage music playing in the background. That's a great way to prototype the next Facebook-killer, but I wouldn't want to prop a national campaign up against it.
Whatever the background story, though, ORCA apparently launched at the last minute and without sufficient testing, training, or documentation. That almost guarantees catastrophic failure to launch. But a good team can get the bulk of the problems ironed out in a week. Maybe a month. Or two.
Small comfort when the only day it needs to work is launch day.