Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Election Pile-Up or 52 Pick-Up

One of the biggest misnomers in elections is that when an election ends, so does the work.

In fact, with news today of another mail-ballot election coming this year, that will put us at two planned elections and three special elections (at least) in 2013.  My running total of elections administered will now be a full deck, 52 in less than nine years.

52 seems like a lot to me. Before I became an election guy, I had no idea there were so many elections.

We're averaging nearly one election every two months since I've been here, and that's been a pretty steady moving average.  With mail-ballot elections planned for the Olathe School District, Overland Park, and Olathe, the majority of our county's voters will have another, unplanned election in 2013.

Meanwhile, not only did the April election still have fragments that needed gussying for two weeks or so (we're doing some post-election audits now, in fact), the April election ended a 14-month frenzy of elections at the polls.

The February primary came upon us after November's election faster than the November election came from August.  Leading into August was a crunch-mode redistricting effort that consumed us from the end of the April 2012 election into the filing deadline days of June.

2012 kicked off with the implementation of the Secure and Fair Elections Act (primarily voter ID legislation) and our first polls election on Feb. 14.  Beyond the census, the obvious push of the presidential election was top of mind (and top of body) as we muscled ahead.

So now, everything that could have been discussed, pushed, or otherwise worked since December 2011 is on the docket.  My "to do" list is 821 items right now, and only one of them is my Walmart shopping list.

We only have a few months to make hay, personally and at the office.  Most staff members are max'd out on vacation accruals, have home repairs to address, and children events to make up after being invisible.  Sadly, one reason we wear our "Vote" apparel is that we don't have time to buy real clothes.

At the office, we have a massive fire alarm upgrade that started last week and has turned into the city of Olathe pulling large heavy construction vehicles here this morning.  They literally have torn up Kansas City Road in front of our building in a quest to understand our water maze.
A 5-year-old's dream observation moment:  several
yellow trucks doing serious excavating.  This is a small
part of the job, as the city looked for main water line
connection (which was under Kansas City Road).

We have a building security upgrade approved in either the 2011, 2010, or maybe 2009 budget that has been pushed out, with hopes of starting this summer.

Most importantly, we need to begin addressing every strategic issue facing us before we're into the 2014 cycle.  We're kicking off that process on July 2, when we thought we'd be done with elections for the year (ha).  I'll be reporting on that process here.

Meanwhile, the outside world assumes we're in down time.  Every meeting that could have been scheduled over the last 18 months is getting scheduled and our calendars are more overloaded than ever.

It makes sense, though--maybe conventional wisdom is right:  when the election ends,  maybe the work really is over.  We'll find out someday, maybe, when there isn't an election in process.


Harry Mullins said...

Brian, you & your staff do an Incredible Job, both during the elections and at all other times. I know because I'm a frequent visitor, and I fully realize how much work you guys do. Thank You!

Election Diary said...

Harry, you are too kind and our employees are the stars. In fact, our part-time employees up-front are the unsung heroes, and I known you've gotten to know some of them. Thank you for your nice post.