Monday, February 13, 2012

Getting Ready for the Afterlife

We just completed our first training session for a voter ID election.

We have an election tomorrow, Roeland Park, and another on Feb. 28 in a few cities.  We combined training today, marking the first time we've ever conducted training for two elections at the same time.  I led the training for about 50 workers.  We have another training on Saturday.

This has been a year of firsts and none really because of Photo ID.  Four elections in five weeks has made for a crazy beginning to the year.

It's worth noting that In Roeland Park, during in-person advance voting, we didn't have a single issue associated with Photo ID.

We also didn't have a single voter.

Yes, five days of advance voting and no voters.  There are three candidates in this race, and I have a feeling we will be looking tomorrow night at something like 16 votes for A, 15 for B, and 14 for C with 10 provisionals.

Roeland Park is the only city in our county that fills council vacancies with a special election.  That's either great government or bad government, depending on your point of view.  From a cost perspective, it's definitely bad, but letting voters decide (versus a governing body appointing) is always good.

We had our first snow of the winter today, around two inches, but tomorrow should be fair and about 45 degrees.  So, I doubt turnout will be impacted by the weather.   I plan to visit the polling location tomorrow afternoon and I think the Secretary of State will as well.

There is plenty of media attention for the Roeland Park election, though, because it's the first in the county with the Voter ID requirement.  There are 1,000 voters in the ward, but many are apartment dwellers and the conventional wisdom is turnout will be low.

Roeland Park has done this twice since I've been here--in a different ward--and the average turnout was 23 percent.  Yet, I'm putting my Blue Bear prediction at 5.4 percent.  Much lower, and we'll probably have more media members covering the election than voters in the election.

Regardless of the turnout, preparing for this election this early has been beneficial because we've been able to smoke out operational changes and training issues.  We still likely don't know what we don't know, but we'll have a pretty good feel for it all after February.   Our next election is in April.

It makes me think of the Glenn Close line in one of my favorite movies, The Natural:

I believe we have two lives--the life we learn with and the life we live with after that. 

I think after April, we will be done with the Photo ID elections we learn with, and we'll be ready to live come August.