Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Last Mile

It's election day, and not just an election day but the last mile in a half-marathon election cycle.

We've hit the 13th election in the last 12 months (technically the 14th election in the last 13 months but half marathons are 13.1 miles--maybe there was 9/10ths of an election as a warm up).

So far this morning, we've been scrambling to make sure each polling place is staffed adequately following last minute cancellations and sicknesses.  Every polling place was open for our workers--never a sure thing in a spring election--and no angry voter calls an hour into the election.

That means are workers were focused and ready to go when the bell rang.  We've spent considerable time discussing the need to be ready for any type of voter as the first voter, and to expect a line.

Even if the line is just one person, places usually have a line, with persons going to vote on their way to work.  Polls open in Missouri at 6, so sometimes, voters have been waiting for an hour thinking we open at 6, too.

So, these voters are most likely on the clock, needing to be somewhere soon.  They are less patient if something isn't clicking at the polling place.

This is compounded if the first voter is a provisional voter or a voter at the wrong polling place who needs to be redirected or a voter requesting an audio ballot. 

I know it's a bit of an assumption, but the lack of issues thus far is an indicator that our workers nailed the opening.

It's probably worth a pause to stress how hard it is to be an election worker.  We will be working with some academics to identify a predictive model to target persons as election workers, in fact, as we look to grow our worker inventory.

If you are on the outside of elections, you might think we should just target 70-year-olds.  We want workers who will be seasoned and become good supervising judges.  That may still mean we hit 70-year-olds, but our primary thinking going forward will be to identify what the triggers were to get our existing workers in the game years ago when the started.

Funny, we are exhausted--a year of exhaustion--and all I could think of as I collapsed last night was how nice it will feel to have this intense stretch over. 

This morning, I'm thinking about all of our next steps in preparation of the next wave.

Hmmmm.  I think this is the sign of being an election junkie, or adrenaline junkie, or some other clever, cute word that makes being a junkie sound okay.

But, back to the here and now--11 hours to go in the final mile.

I wonder if there will be a medal?  I think we'd all accept a blanket and some chocolate milk at this point.