Monday, March 26, 2012

New Election Worker Training, Expanding

Today we completed our second new election worker training session in 2012 and it's clear that the training time will have to be extended.

Usually, we go for about 2 1/2 hours, take a 10 minute break, and then run through some scenarios in a skit format for 20 minutes so the new workers can connect some of the dots.  Instead, with both trainings, we've come crashing out of the training room with no break straight to the skits with 10 minutes to go.

I personally conduct all of the training, and it's hard enough doing all the classes at three hours each.  In the summer and fall, we'll have some days with two trainings--essentially all the work of shows in Branson without the charm.

We could extend the courses to four hours.  There is enough material for 40 hours, really.  The issue is that it would take about 10 hours of productivity away from me in July and again in October. We'd have to increase the pay for an extra hour (our workers get $15 for training, less than minimum wage as it is) so that's another factor.

We'll be stewing on this over the next few weeks.

We'll begin new election worker training for the summer in about three months.  At our refresher training, in July, we'll show the video comedian Paul Wagner created for us.  It's ready, but I haven't wanted to show it to our workers until we get to the full-county elections.

I met Paul at a trade show in the late 1990s when I worked for Sprint.  He was hosting the booth for a company called  He creates and plays several characters and then usually interviews his recorded characters live, as though he's working through a satellite feed.

About a year later, I incorporated his approach with Frances Cairncross, editor of The Economist and author of one of my favorite books, The Death of Distance.   It was an unlikely pairing, at an industry conference in Puerto Rico, and it ruled.

He did a video for us this time, as a favor, basically for expenses.  He plays several characters, some you'd swear you've seen at the polling place.  All of this runs through Voter ID scenarios to help get our workers at ease with the process.

He also recorded a couple goofy outtakes while in some of his characters.  I'll show those at breaks during supervising judge training. 

Paul is much more than a comedian and, in fact, has pulled together some heavy hitter deals in the entertainment industry.  I have a feeling he is about to get involved in social media election industry projects, and we're hoping to work with him on smartphone apps and some future iPad-based training.

You can see what he does at