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Sites strain under demand for election news

As election results trickle in, several online news organizations and campaign Web sites buckle under the weight of heavy traffic from visitors eager to keep tabs on the tight presidential race.

As election results trickled in Tuesday evening, several online news organizations and campaign Web sites buckled under the weight of heavy traffic from visitors eager to know who was inching ahead in the tight presidential race.

MSNBC.com, Voter.com and Want election news? Get it hereDrudgereport.com all experienced prolonged outages, while other sites such as Democrats.org and VoteNader.com were showing stress, taking much longer than usual to download.

Traffic figures were not immediately available, but Web performance reports conducted by San Mateo, Calif.-based Keynote Systems showed that as the day progressed, most sites providing election coverage were slowing considerably.

"All the sites are getting slow," said Keynote spokeswoman Mary Lindsay. "But most are available. In other words, if you sat for it you'll eventually get it."

For most of the day there wasn't much of a buzz on the Net aside from pleas urging people to vote. Yet, once the Electoral College results were available, political junkies rushed to the Web for results.

For example, MSNBC took a little more than two seconds to call up and was available 100 percent of the time between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. PST Tuesday, Keynote reports show. But by noon, the site was already showing trouble, taking about 24 seconds to access and sometimes not being available at all.

Some political analysts had predicted the Web would not be able to compete with television as results were called.

Perhaps the prediction is true, not for lack of interest on the part of voters who are rushing to the Net for information but rather because some of the sites can't support the big demand.