Sunday, August 9, 2015

LA County Needs No Fixin

Much is going on, as always, it seems, so this post will try to capture a chunk of that at once.

Yet, the post is from a sleep-deprived place, so it will be brief, with follow-ups soon on our preparation for the De Soto School District Special Election, a trial of electronic pollbooks, and the follow-up to my observation trip to Albania.

I'm typing this post flying back from an exciting meeting pulled together by the Bipartisan Policy Center and preparing for election worker training in the morning.  I imagine I'll be at a place to post this Saturday night, after the training, so there will be a need to post again soon.

The meeting brought in election administrators from some of the largest jurisdictions in many states.

The point was to learn from those leaders key issues that are being addressed, with the idea that data and programs applied in those jurisdictions would have value cascading down to smaller jurisdictions.

First, if that doesn't sound exciting, then you're no friend of mine.....

Okay, you are my friend, of course--with music on the mind from the long flight, I was channeling some flood of songs to defend the excitement--first, Men Without Hats.

 "If they don't dance, well they're no friends of mine."

Election administration isn't quite like dancing, but it is like the fast skate at Skateworld sometimes.

Or, as Louie Armstrong said when asked to define jazz (or election geekery), "if you gotta ask, you'll never know."

Or, The Dead Milkmen, who sang in Punk Rock Girl, "if you don't got Mojo Nixon, then your store could use some fixin'"

 Okay, I'll stop now.  Yes, the flight is approaching red-eye status.  Is it showing?
It's just that once the election geekness starts, it's rabid.

One proof point was our trip to the Los Angeles County Election Warehouse.  Put together about 30 election geeks and they do, well, geeky things, and we were definitely that way at the warehouse.

 LA County has about 12 times the voters we have in Johnson County.  Our meeting yesterday was on the fifth floor of their building.  They have more than 400 election employees.

That kind of scale promotes learnings that cascade to us tiny tots, like 400,000-voter Johnson County.  (Oh, yes, if you are scoring at home, 400 employees divided by 12 does not equal 16......, so benchmarking only goes so far).

But, that transfer of knowledge, I think, is what the Bipartisan Policy Council is seeking by connecting with many communities of our size, that further learnings will be transferred down to 40,000-voter counties.

Yes, Virginia, the election industry has an 80/20 rule, just like most industries.

Oh, and by Virginia, I literally meant Virginia, which was well-represented in the meeting.   

Now THAT'S a warehouse!
Those compadres from Virginia and many other states hopped out of a van with me at the warehouse, and before I could begin taking photos of the outside of the warehouse, I noticed three others already were. 

You'd have thought we'd hit the lot at Universal Studios, not the biggest election stage in the country.  Heck, I found myself taking photos of my friends taking photos of the election building.

All of us were excited to see the outside of a building that housed election equipment.

The key word in that sentence was "outside."  The outside of a warehouse caused palpatations.


I've shown a couple photos here of the warehouse--once looks like a court where the Lakers might practice.

Anyway, the meeting provided a quick piece of theory before returning to the practical aspect of election worker training for our 8th election this year.

More on that in the next post.