Thursday, January 5, 2012

Election Diary, 2012

Welcome to Election Diary, a blog written by an election geek for election geeks, as well as anybody else who has an interest in the behind-the-scenes work of election administration.

This blog has been up since 2012, when I was the Election Commissioner for Johnson County, Kansas, and earned a Best Practice award from the Election Center in 2013, one of three Election Center awards earned during my 11 years in that position.  The blog took an update hiatus upon my move to Washington, DC, to work as the Executive Director at the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

This blog does not represent the views of the EAC, Johnson County Election Office, North Dakota Secretary of State office or any entity mentioned, for that matter.   All views are personal.
With a nod to government transparency, “behind the scenes,” was the first of what will be many clichés used in this space.  Election administration is hard work and stressful, but it’s very rewarding.  The primary reward comes from the accomplishment of meeting deadlines and putting together an event.  If that doesn’t sound all that rewarding, that’s probably because you work in a different industry.  Yours, in fact, may be much more exciting, and it probably pays better.
But, this is what I do, and have done for the last 17 years.  Jump-starting this blog now, with considerably more interest in election administration heading into the 2020 presidential election then there was before the 2012 presidential election, hopefully validates the initial intent.  But, “behind the scenes,” isn’t meant to imply any backroom kind of election thing.  Rather, this blog will be all about the day-to-day steps involved with administering elections.
In creating this, was easier to start by pointing out what this blog wouldn't be, and still isn't:
1.    It’s not political.  This isn’t a place to get opinions about candidates, parties, who will win, or who should win any election.   This blog is about what goes into preparing for these elections.  And, in not being political in the purest sense, it will likely evoke, for lack of a better phrase, the corporate politics of putting on an election.  The blog will have a point of view at times, but not about candidates, parties, or issues on ballots.
2.   It’s not going to be directly interactive, at least for now.  There will not be any comments section.  This ties to my concerns about any of this being political.  I understand that as the owner of the blog I could simply moderate the comments section and remove those that cross the margins into political views, but that’s an approach I don’t want to take.  There is a place where you can email me, and I’ll do my best to keep up with responding and I may address some of the emails in specific posts as the year progresses.    
3.   It’s not about the presidential election only.  The EAC is a federal government agency focused on federal elections.  There aren't any of those, just one every two Novembers, as well as special elections for vacant federal offices.  However, it it's a Tuesday, for instance, there likely is an election, or several elections, occurring in the country.  In fact, some mail ballots occur on days other than Tuesday.  So, if you came because of the Presidential election, stay for the fun of year-round election administration.  Many people think election officials only work a couple days a year—I guess that’s sort of the point of this blog, to explain what we do on the other days.
4.   Any representation of any views outside of my own.  There is nothing here that represents anyone other than me.