Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Poverty, Pain, and Planning

You may remember that I suffered a broken ankle, with surgery needed.

I've been awaiting my time with THE ankle guy, and I'll be wheeled into surgery tomorrow morning.  Crutches for a couple of months--at least our election flurry is over.  I'm hoping this is the ultimate, "Measure twice, cut once," moment.

What this has done is set up three phases for the first half of my year.  The first phase is over: pre-surgery, April 11, where I focused on wrapping up everything with our spring elections.

In case you've been counting--we have--that was five elections in about seven weeks.  There has been plenty of activity to keep my mind off of my ankle pain.

I'll be working from home for a short period during phase 2, until I'm mobile enough to be allowed to drive, or at least crawl out of my house and climb into the car, telling myself I can drive.

During this phase, I have stockpiled a lot of planning topics and things I want to research for use in the rest of 2012 and 2013.  I'll be evaluating, for instance, vendors that do crowdsourcing, iPad apps for use in elections, and app development that we might be able to leverage going forward.

Meanwhile, the election office staff will be focused on cleanup of the Spring election, invoicing the jurisdictions, re-arranging the warehouse, and buttoning down advance voting sites and polling locations for the August and November elections.

I also have two trips in May that are really unavoidable.  One is our annual election training with the Secretary of State's office.  That training is always good but this year--and no offense to the residents because I'm sure the town is nice--the meeting is in Dodge City.

That's Dodge City as in, "the city that's almost as far away as Chicago but in the middle of nowhere when we have no time to waste."

You've heard the phrase, "Get out of Dodge," but have you ever heard anyone talk about getting into Dodge?

Of course not.  There's only one direct way there, and that's a long ride down the highway.

We've rented a bus, so I can stretch out with all my gimp toys and work during the drive both ways.

The second trip is to Auburn, Alabama, for my final class for the Election Center's Certified Elections/ Registration Administrator (CERA) distinction.  I want this completed before the presidential election, and graduation is in August.  I'll miss the ceremony, but by taking the class in May, I'll be among those recognized.

That will bring me to the third phase, hopefully the post-crutches phase and the phase that will coincide with us getting final word on redistricting.  We'll have a crazy couple of weeks preparing maps and moving voters to new boundary lines, working with a flurry of candidate changes, and finalizing our ballots for August.  Military ballots, for instance, will need to be mailed in mid-June.

Incidentally, this will be the first August election where military voters will be able to vote for precinct committee persons.  That may eliminate some of our coin tosses in ties where only a handful of voters cast ballots.

So, I have high hopes for my lamed-up period.  It will be my equivalent of the two weeks Bill Gates takes off each year to catch up on reading.  Except, mine is more laden in poverty and I'll be accompanied with some pain.

Hmmm, the three Ps of any election administrator:  Poverty, Pain, and Planning.  That's a normal day for us, actually. :-)

Regardless, it really will be good to hole up and plan the rest of the year.

Look for some remote posts in the next few days.