It's not much of a surprise to me that electoral-vote.com and electionprojection.com (a right-leaning poll analysis site) went down for the count early on. Andy Tannenbaum had posted that electoral-vote.com was getting a thousand queries per second and he was trying to keep the servers up, but....The bigger surprise is that the NY Times's servers fell over a couple of times during the evening. I would have thought 1) that they would have done accurate projections of demand and 2) lined up enough server capacity.
Apparently not. I wasn't the only person I know who lost touch with the Times occasionally.
If I were trying to keep a site up during brief periods of extremely high demand, I'd go with a provider that could rapidly release capacity to me. Practically speaking, I think that probably means Amazon's web/cloud services or Google Cloud Services or maybe MSFT Azure. I've heard that it's not hard to get applications running on App Engine. And goodness knows - we have, uh, CAPACITY.