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Record election turnout online

Sites with election materials and live results report record traffic to their sites before, during, and after the voting tallies.

Tuesday's primary elections in eight states seemed to prove once again that politics and the Net make good bedfellows.

Sites with election materials and live results reported record traffic to their sites before, during, and after the voting tallies.

"It was an unbelievable night," said Leslie Goodman, who hosts the nonpartisan Political Access site, which contains links to sites that reported election results.

The California Secretary of State's Web site carried the official election results every five minutes. By 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, the site had received 1 million hits. By noon yesterday, the count was up to 2 million, according to the site's Webmaster, Dag Gano.

"I'm getting hundreds of very enthusiastic emails," he said. "There are, of course, occasional suggestions for improvements, but so far it looks 100 percent positive with virtually no negative feedback."

People logged on to the political sites for a variety of reasons: before the elections for background on candidates and issues; during voting for live election results; and after the results were in to get the postmortem.

Goodman said people were logging on for the kind of news that mainstream media outlets weren't providing and to get information at their leisure. "From the standpoint of providing basic nuts-and-bolts information, more and more people were turning to the Internet," she said.

However, she added: "Even if the coverage was stellar, I do think more and more people are turning to the Internet for long-form information."

Olivier Chaine, with USWeb, which developed Los Angeles County's election Web site, also said that the site was crowded with voters wanting instant access to information. His main goal, he said, was to keep the site up and running all night--a goal USWeb achieved.

Unfortunately, however, not all sites had the same good fortune.

Well-reputed site California Voter Foundation was taken down at 12:18 a.m. PT by its Web hosting provider because of the "incredible volume of traffic to our site over the past few days," Kim Alexander, president of the organization, said in an email message.

She said she was trying to deal with her hosting service to see why the site was taken down, despite warnings that there would be heavy usage.

Net reporter Courtney Macavinta contributed to this report.