State officials were kept in the dark about exactly how it would work in the lead-up to election day, and there was never a dry run that included early voting, said one of the sources.

Among other issues, the system was never beta-tested or checked for functionality without going live before Election Day, two sources said. It went live that morning but was never checked for bugs or efficiencies internally. The volunteer at Ace of Spades also cited this issue but as one by which field workers couldn’t get to know the system ahead of Election Day. But inside Romneyland, officials were experiencing similar problems as votes were being cast…

It’s been reported the system crashed at 4 p.m., but multiple sources familiar with the war room operation said it had actually been crashing throughout the day. Officials mostly got information about votes either from public news sources tracking data, like CNN.com, or by calling the counties for information, the source said. Officials insisted the day after the election that they had still believed they were close, and that they had hit their numbers where they needed to, even as Fox News and other outlets called the race.

The numbers in the interface never moved, leaving officials in Boston and out in the states “flying blind” — a phrase used by several people.