AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Election Day: Examples of how the Cloud Scales to Meet Election Demand

Are you getting out to vote today? At AWS, we have supported election and voting-related projects with cloud computing services to scale for the influx of traffic these websites receive during the election period.  If you register to vote, donate to a candidate, look up information on where and how to vote, or carpool to the polls – you may be using the cloud.

With the eyes of the nation focused on the election, the organizations listed below (among others) use AWS for inexpensive and highly scalable infrastructure to build websites, host core systems, and manage outreach and fundraising.

Get out there and vote – and read how these organizations use the cloud to quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively meet their mission.

Pew Charitable Trusts Voting Information Project – The Voting Information Project (VIP) works with states to provide official information to voters about where to vote and what’s on their ballots. VIP uses an open format to make election data available and accessible, bringing cutting edge technology to ensure that all eligible Americans have the information they need to cast a ballot.

Rhode Island’s Voter Information Center – The Voter Information Center (VIC) handles requests for information such as polling place look-up, sample ballots, elected officials, overseas voter information, as well as many similar functions related to elections. The purpose of this project is to make our VIC highly available during periods of extremely high traffic, such as weeks leading up to and including Election Day.

The League of Women Voters – Since 1920, the nonpartisan political organization, League of Women Voters (LWV), has sought to improve US systems of government and impact public policies through education and advocacy. The LWV Education Fund (LWVEF) runs the website VOTE411.org, which provides nonpartisan election information to the public. As a website devoted to elections, VOTE411.org experiences surges in volume over the period leading up to Election Day during federal election years. The rest of the time, VOTE411.org has a relatively low volume of traffic. The hosting solution needed to serve as many as half a million unique visitors on Election Day, and then scale down after the polls closed. “The choice to move to the cloud was clear,” says Jeanette Senecal, Senior Director, LWVEF. “AWS was exactly what we needed: a hosting solution that scaled seamlessly,” Senecal says. Learn more about how the League of Women Voters uses the AWS Cloud here.

National Democratic Institute –  The National Democratic Institute (NDI), which works to ensure free and fair elections and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide, needed a flexible IT infrastructure that was secure and low-cost. By moving to AWS and scaling infrastructure appropriately, the organization reduced costs by 90% and improved security by using AWS security groups and features. Watch the video about how they leverage the AWS Cloud here.

Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation’s TrustTheVote™ Project OSET is utilizing AWS to ensure that the democratic process is not threatened by archaic and obsolete systems. Often, these systems are no longer supported by manufacturers, and in the case of voting machinery, rely on proprietary software that’s difficult to inspect or audit. OSET chose to make its software available on AWS GovCloud (US), because it offers the security and compliance for sensitive data, while offering the scalability, agility, and cost savings of the cloud. And it can be quickly and easily delivered anywhere in the country. Cloud-based voter registration, ballot design, and election results reporting are ideal starting points to lowering costs and improving the public trust in our democracy.

Rock the VoteRock the Vote, one of the largest nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations in the United States driving the youth vote to the polls, hosts their registration platform and services on the AWS Cloud. Rock the Vote’s voter registration platform is a free, open source solution that makes voter registration easier for voters and partner organizations across the country. Moving Rock the Vote’s platform to the AWS Cloud allowed for increased scalability for an increasingly mobile society, with the same robust service and approach to security AWS delivers to all commercial and government customers worldwide. “Cloud technology combined with open data, open standards, and open source development can be a game-changer in election administration,” said Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services. “Leveraging the AWS Cloud’s highly scalable and secure infrastructure will help enable Rock the Vote to raise the bar on innovative voter registration services.”

Democratic National Committee –  The Democratic National Committee (DNC) assists local, state, and federal Democratic candidates. The organization moved from a traditional IT infrastructure to AWS to run its website and to gather, store, and deliver voter data to other political organizations. By using AWS, the DNC reduced its IT footprint, cut costs, and enabled scaling for its website to easily handle spikes in traffic. Watch this video on how the DNC runs its website and voter data collection on AWS here.

And as we say goodbye to President Barack Obama, read how the cloud helped the Obama for America 2012 campaign in this video.

While we wait to hear who will be the next president of the United States, continue to learn how AWS handles the heavy lifting of IT so organizations can focus their time and resources on their mission.