Saturday, September 1, 2012

Yarns and a String of Elections

Labor Day weekend is recognized as the official close of summer.

It's also that tiny little breather marking the beginning of the stretch run into the presidential election.

We're less than 10 weeks away.

Also, 10 weeks from today, I plan to run in a half-marathon race.  That would be on Nov. 10, the Saturday after the election.

Now, I'm a running wuss and I don't run outside if the temperature is below 35 degrees, so I won't be signing up for that specific half-marathon until around election day.  I ran in this half-marathon last November and I'm hoping it will be an, "In Your Face," to my broken ankle and some sort of glorious comeback I will celebrate.  It it's too cold, I'll run one in April.

Most running magazines have their own "10-week plan" to prepare for half-marathons and while I'm not sure there are parallels to running and elections, I'm going to force one here.

(Side note, when I worked at Sprint we often talked of the last mile, the phrase for the telecom facilities that came from the local switch to the home.  At a trade show, I was impressed with the creativity of a vendor to have a "Run the Last Mile" race.

I was so impressed that I considered, when running for Shawnee City Council in 2002, that on election day I would "Run for Office," running from one polling place to another and, I guess, wave to voters as I went by.  That fear of it being too cold, or icy, stopped me.)

(Further side note, what you just read was an anecdote but what we refer to in the office as a yarn.  Yarns are sometimes interesting but they take away time from the task at hand.  In election crunch mode, we declare that time as a No-Yarn Zone and Labor Day begins such a zone.)

Back to the running comparison.  This weekend is like the day before the big race, really.  We run a lighter course to rest up.  This is our last chance for a while to take care of personal errands.  It will be the last weekend we're caught up on laundry.

(One last yarn:  you're never caught up on laundry, really, and working voter registrations is the same way.  We may knock everything out that we have, but another load is ready the next day.)

Like the preparation for a big race, I'll begin my next series of posts with a timeline comparison to election day, although that's misleading.  "Election Day" is really a season of its own.

For instance, the election is Nov. 6, but voting begins this month for military voters.  Advance ballots by mail will be mailed Oct. 17 and in-person advance voting begins Oct. 22.

Unofficial results are posted Nov. 6, but counting of ballots continues for a couple more weeks.  We will prepare our recommendations related to provisional ballots from Nov. 7 up until the canvass of Nov. 12, when the Board of Canvassers will authorize to count specific ballots.

We expect to have so many that the Board will recess until the end of the day Nov. 13, or longer, before certifying the final results.  At that point, we may have situations for recounts, but we all hope to be wrapped up by Thanksgiving.

There's a general belief among outsiders that our lives will slow down Nov. 7.  While that isn't the case, it's more intense than I've painted this because we have a primary election in February and a countywide election in April.  These come at the same rapid-fire pace as the November election comes after August.  

May Day--that's our end game, we hope.  I don't know if we can hold back yarns that long.


Carl W said...

Interesting example of last weekend with all the laundry washed. I just took a break from folding laundry. If being a marathon runner is a requirement for operating an outstanding Election Office, then Johnson County has the right person in charge. The JoCo EO was outstanding in their performance with a smile during the primaries. Their attitude with every interaction I experienced during the primaries was to sprint the last mile. That is hard to do. Hats off to you and your team, Brian. And good luck on November 10th.

Election Diary said...

Carl, you are too kind. It means a lot to all of us to read things like this. Thank you! And, it's only a half marathon, so I'm only half the man you think I am.