Deja Vu All Over Again
Well, Fox News
is reporting that the VNS service has crashed. VNS, for the uninitiated, is a joint project between a lot of the major news sources to report on exit polls and statistics. Basically, it's the backbone for the networks' statisticians when it comes time to call the elections. It's way cool (I was able to visit one of the stations using it, as I know one of the statisticians, so I've used it a bit, and trust me, if it works, it's awesome
Problem is, it's not working. There isn't quite enough bandwidth on the system to have allowed all the networks to sign on, and even with that, there were a lot of worries that it would crash. Which it did. Two reasons why this isn't bad (it's actually a really, really good thing, provided it's not your job to call elections).
1) It'll cut down on speculation based on exit polls. Because of the portions of VNS that went down, the statisicians are left with raw information (plugged into a variety of models) as well as the results from past elections (divided up geographically as well as along party lines). As such, they're going to be really, really careful calling elections (not that they weren't already paranoid, the people I've spoken to refer to Florida like evangelicals refer to the Anunciation -- the beginning of a new era).
2) Television is going to be less frenetic tonight. Because they are going to have to work more, the stations hopefully won't harp upon the data, which is, to me, the least pleasent aspect of election night.
And, because the station knew I was a journalist, the condition on which I was allowed to visit was that I wouldn't report on how panicky everyone was that the system would crash. But since Fox News has broken it, I think they've scooped me.