Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Madness Begins

And, we're back!

Back, that is, in major election mode after a whole 9 days since the spring primary canvass.

Today, we mailed out about 1,700 advance ballots for the April 3 election.  For all of these elections, we bill the jurisdictions the incremental costs and we're not only in the midst of our fifth election of the year already, we haven't even received all of our vendor invoices from the others so we can prepare our own invoice and get reimbursement.

We're essentially four elections in the hole.  We're a living practice case for a high-school accounting class at this point.

It's madness--regular madness, not March Madness, although this is the time of year that makes for a good analogy as well.

Tuesday will be our first new election worker training of the year.  Much like college basketball coaches, we're always recruiting when it comes to election workers.  We have enough seasoned workers to cover this election but we want to sprinkle in some rookies to keep feeding the worker pipeline.

We've also had several supervising judges hang up their poll books after last year, so we're looking for workers to step up and take on more responsibility.  We'll be utilizing a supervising judge buddy program, where we have supervisors serve as mentors to rising stars.

The number of supervising judges retiring after 2011 speaks, I think, to how hard it is becoming to be an election worker.  Running a polling places involves working through a series of exceptions.  The 95 percent who are what we call perfect voters (meaning they were in the poll book, voted non-provisional) take up about 20 percent of the mindshare of our workers.

The exceptions--the five percent--are the training brain-teasers.  The majority of our training time is involved with these one-offs.  Accumulating too many one-offs can be a turn-off, and I think that's what some of our workers have experienced.

We plan to overstaff slightly in April so we can get some new workers seasoned before working a second time in August so they will be full-fledged veterans in November.  We'll have a bevy of new election workers--high-school students--in November but most of our new workers will come in these next few months.

We'll finish new election worker training in early October, before advance voting and about the time we start to get calls from people who've heard there is a presidential election coming up and would like to get involved as a worker.

If by chance you're thinking about working in November, or setting up your organization to adopt a polling place as a fundraiser, now is the time to raise your hand.