TORONTO — An attempted cyber-attack on the NDP's electronic voting system Saturday forced party officials to delay the process of choosing the next federal New Democrat leader for several hours, frustrating voters both at the convention in Toronto and across the country.
Party officials insisted the integrity of the voting system was not compromised, but acknowledged that the would-be hacker managed to "mess'' it up enough to cause lengthy delays.
"The system has not been compromised,'' said Brad Lavigne, a former party national director who was dispatched to explain the problem to reporters.
"The system was not hacked. It was never even close to being hacked.''
Lavigne said someone outside the party tried to get access to the system, triggering alarms that caused the system to shut down.
"The analogy that can be used is that somebody was trying to break into our house and the alarm went off and the robbers were scared away.''
He stopped short of suggesting someone was deliberately trying to sabotage the NDP leadership process.
"I'm saying that somebody outside of the party was attempting to mess with our one-member, one-vote (system), but that the sanctity of our system was preserved because of the failsafes,'' Lavigne said.
"The only thing they were able to achieve was a little delay.''
Jamey Heath, campaign manager for third-place contender Nathan Cullen, said the party's chief electoral officer informed the remaining camps of the problem.
He said he was told "they did isolate it to two — or it may have been three — IP addresses, but they've resolved it.''
Party president Rebecca Blaikie insisted that while the attempted attack proved a nuisance to the party and its voters, it did not penetrate the system nor compromise the voting results.
"Whoever this is or whatever it came from, their goal was simply to make it a pain to get into our site, to make it harder for people to vote, to block it up with a lot of traffic,'' Blaikie said.
"But traffic has nothing to do with security and so the vote itself is fine. It's just meant that we've had to have a lot more patience today than we thought.''
Earlier, officials would say only that the system had been overwhelmed due to an unanticipated crush of voters all trying to cast their online ballots at the same time.
But that explanation was met with skepticism, since fewer than 10,000 New Democrats actually voted electronically on Saturday; the vast majority, some 56,000, had cast their ballots in advance.
The party hired Scytl, a Spanish-based company that specializes in electronic voting security, to run the online voting system.
Results from the second round of voting were delayed about two hours to give every member who wanted to vote a chance to do so.
For those who voted in person at the convention, lengthy lineups at voting stations formed as the delays pushed balloting well into the afternoon.
When third ballot results were finally announced, front-runner Thomas Mulcair had edged closer to victory, taking 43.8 per cent of the vote to Brian Topp's 31.6. Nathan Cullen came third with 24.6 per cent of the votes and was knocked off the ballot.
Peggy Nash, Paul Dewar, Martin Singh and Niki Ashton were all knocked out of the race during first- and second-ballot voting.
Thank you for joining us. Lots to review here:
Convention Coverage, HuffPost Style: The Huffington Post Canada brings you comprehensive coverage of the NDP leadership convention in Toronto, with photos, behind-the-scenes video, opinion and reporting from the convention floor.
DELEGATES LEAVE THE HALL
After a long two days, delegates file out of convention for good
Mar 24, 2012 | Source: Keek.com
|@ RyanPainterShow : It is AMAZING how quickly ppl have ALREADY written off @ThomasMulcair based on his first speech. You'll see, is all I have to say #ndpldr|
|@ alishasawhney : Muclair represents the new face of the NDP in Canadian politics. Was his lack of vigour in his speech just due to exhaustion? #ndpldr|
|@ seleross : I only have twitter over here. Terrible reviews of speech; no idea what was actually said. #ndpldr|
|@ tomhawthorn : No question. Fiasco of a victory speech by Mulcair. Wonder who'll tell him? #ndpldr|
|@ itsabbeyk : After 7 months of campaigning and 12+ hours of coverage on CBC, it's finally over and an ex-Liberal is leading the NDP. #ndpldr|
|@ freethephoenix : Wonderful speech, Mulcair!! And Congratulations!! Don't heed the haters :) We'll make Canada better for them, too. #ndpldr|
|@ RayCecile : Mulcair's speech didn't say anything about putting a sound policy in place that will help business' create jobs #cdnpoli #ndpldr|
|@ SimStr1 : No fire in @thomasmulcair. We need fire from the left and @ElizabethMay has it. We'll see who inspires youth! #ndpldr|
|@ ocean_raven : Rethinking my support of the NDP now that Mulcair is in the leadership role. I do not trust him. #ndpldr|
|@ evansolomoncbc : Thomas Mulcair says "in order to have first ndp fed govt our party must reach beyond traditional base" #cdnpoli #ndpldr|
|@ IvisonJ : "Our future is limitless, if we get our priorities right" - Mulcair. He made that line sound like he was ordering pizza. #ndpldr|
"From medicare to public pensions, these values are reflected in the institutions we built, institutions we risk losing under the polices of the current government."
|@ Snafulp : @HuffPostCanada There goes Jack Layton's dream and hardwork down the drain..This man is a wolf in sheep's clothing..I am so sad today|
|@ althiaraj : "Our future is limitless if we get our priorities right," Mulcair says|
"Democracy can't just mean the right to vote. Democracy must also mean .. knowing that your vote matters."
Mulcair: (paraphrased) The youth are so turned off by today's politics they won't vote. It's not that they don't care, it's that they don't trust their vote will make a difference.
Mulcair talks about the people he met in community centres across the country:
"The voices of those Canadians should not only be heard, they should be at the centre of our national agenda."
|@ rachelmendleson : Broadbrent joins Mulcair, other candidates on the stage #ndpldr http://t.co/qrY9yq5N|
To my mother, my mom, who with her brothers and sistgers is up north watching us, hello!
And the speech begins.
|@ althiaraj : Thomas Mulcair leaves bleechers to come give his speech to #ndpldr candidates http://t.co/8MiiVF0M|
It's no secret Thomas Mulcair has some unifying to do. Expect to hear much about this in the speech, which will happen momentarily
(CP) Montreal MP Thomas Mulcair has been chosen to succeed Jack Layton as leader of the federal NDP.
Mulcair claimed 57.2 per cent of the vote in a fourth-ballot victory over chief rival Brian Topp, who claimed 42.8 per cent.
The two front-runners were the last men standing after a day-long voting marathon that was plagued by online delays, the result of an attempted cyber-attack on the party's website.
Long-shot candidate Nathan Cullen persisted until the third ballot, outlasting rivals Peggy Nash, Paul Dewar, Niki Ashton and Martin Singh.
Nycole Turmel as well in an apparent show of NDP solidarity