PROVIDENCE, RI – A public education campaign drove voters looking for information about polling places and Voter ID to the Secretary of State's website by the tens of thousands in the seven days ending on Election Day.
According to Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, traffic jumped 430 percent. Sos.ri.gov had 104,264 unique visitors from Oct. 31 to Nov. 6, compared to 19,657 for the previous seven-day period.
Mollis launched the campaign because many cities and towns had moved their polling places due to redistricting, Voters were urged to use his website to make sure they knew where to vote, review a sample ballot and make sure they had proper ID.
Election Day had the second highest turnout in state history, trailing only 2008.
The surge was most dramatic on the website's Voter Information Center (VIC). Pageviews increased 1,100 percent from 25,217 to 307,156 week over week. More than 101,000 of those pageviews came on Election Day alone.
"Comparing pageviews to turnout – more than 446,000 ballots were cast– puts the website's value to voters in perspective. We've had heavy traffic before, but Election Day was unique," said Mollis.
In fact, when heavy traffic slowed the site's response time early on Election Day, the Secretary of State's office hurriedly built four additional servers to handle the demand.
The state's new Voter ID law also drove Rhode Islanders to the website in substantial numbers. Pageviews for the Voter ID landing page jumped 860 percent.
The use of mobile devices was up dramatically compared to the 2010 election. Nearly 30,000 visits came via mobile devices this year, up 930 percent compared to the seven-day period ending on Election Day 2010. The share of mobile users jumped too from 3.6 percent in 2010 to 22 percent this year.
The Secretary of State's office works in partnership with municipal boards of canvassers and the state Board of Elections. The Secretary of State's office prepares ballots, maintains the statewide voter registration database, encourages voter registration and turnout and creates guides to running for office and voting. The state Board of Election oversees the delivery of ballots, maintenance of voting equipment and training of poll workers. Local boards of canvassers select polling places.
For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4293