Saturday, June 9, 2012

Redistricting Update

Breaking news just after midnight Friday that the federal court had released its redistricting order and maps is creating a four-day election frenzy.

The changes are massive, renumbering districts and putting two incumbents in one district, no candidates in another, and, overall, leading to a different kind of race.  Namely, candidates are racing to get filed or even withdrawn by noon on Monday.

We've already seen one candidate move on Friday so he could file in his new district.

In a clinical way, this is a fun time, almost starting from scratch and reinventing jurisdictions.

I know, though, that it has caused upheaval in so many lives that I doubt those impacted would call this fun.  I feel especially bad for those who woke up to see a friend and someone they respected ideologically suddenly also be an opponent in a primary.

In our office, we're now head-down putting the districts together.  We have 16 employees and while that may seem like a lot, each are specialized and spread pretty thin.  We have one mapping person and one person who has an end-to-end understanding of all our systems.
This is the screen projected by the mapping software
our team was using in a conference room Friday as they
made sure exact precincts were placed
in the proper Senate districts.

Those two locked up on Friday, are likely working as I type, and will be sorting all of this out for several more days.  They have to ensure that each precinct is placed in the proper district.  We have about 450 precincts and likely will have more because the maps split several precincts.

They finished four of the county's nine Senate districts on Friday.  They'll have the State Board of Education and House districts to do this week.

From there, we can begin placing voters in their correct jurisdictions and create ballots.  We need to mail military ballots within 2 weeks and we should meet that goal, but that's just the first milestone.

We'll need to create our ballot order to give our printer time to prepare and mail back about 150,000 ballots.  Permanent sick and disabled ballots, and ballots for those who already have requested an advance ballot, will be in the mail July 18.  We send a postcard to each voter, also, and that will go out the week before.

We're gathering a waiting list of map requests, and the maps take considerable time to print.  We should be in a position to print maps by the end of the month, but also have about a thousand we need to print for the August election--such as the "Vote Here if You Live Here" maps.

At some point, our mapping priority will have to be on the maps we need to administer the election.  If you're among those anticipating ordering some maps, I encourage you to call as soon as possible to get in line.

All that being said (or at least typed), we're nearing the other side of the work created by the census.