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.
With a nod to government transparency, “behind the scenes,” is 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 I thought it might be of interest to watch the events of a major election unfold from the planner’s perspective.  So, “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, it’s probably easier to start by pointing out what this blog 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.  I lead an office in Johnson County, Kansas, that manages the steps for elections—we’ve had, in fact, 40 in my seven years here.  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 (it is a busy year in my day job, after all) and I may address some of the emails in specific posts as the year progresses.    One other minor reason it’s not directly interactive right now—I don’t know how to set those up yet in Blogger.
3.   It’s not about the presidential election only.  As I type this, we are preparing for two mail-ballot elections on January 31, a special city council replacement election on Valentine’s Day, a spring election for five cities in April, and a potential primary for some of those races at the end of February.  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.  I will link to places within Johnson County, Kansas, and elsewhere if I think those links are of interest, but there is nothing here that represents anyone other than me.
Further definition will be evident as I post.  For now, it’s launched!