The New Hampshire Democrats this afternoon lost phone service at their local campaign offices in 11 towns, prompting them to notify the state attorney general and put out a press release.
The cause of the outage was not known as of Monday evening. The Democrats said they took the precaution of notifying authorities based on what happened in 2002, when the state Republican Party purposely jammed the Dems’ phones in order to sabotage their get out the vote effort. The scheme eventually ended in the criminal convictions of the party’s executive director and a political consultant.
There’s no sign of nefarious activity yet. A spokesman for the Republican Party said they were also experiencing phone outages at several of their phone banks.The Republican spokesman blamed Comcast. Mike Brunelle, executive director of the Democratic Party, said the problem came from two phone service providers, but declined to name them.
In a statement, Comcast said the outage — which effected swaths of New Hampshire and Massachusetts — was due to a high volume of political robocalls:
Comcast — and, we believe, other local phone carriers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts — are experiencing severe call volumes on the evening before the election due to auto dialing activity that is generating a massive number of inbound political phone calls to our network. As soon as we were made aware of the congestion this was causing, we began to re-route traffic around it. At the same time, we are working hard to identify the carrier that owns the originating telephone numbers generating these unusual traffic volumes in an attempt to address the situation.
A spokesman for the New Hampshire attorney general was not available for comment.
Late update: Tuesday morning, both the Dems and the Republicans report their phone service is back up.