Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Warm Fuzzies and Furry Thoughts

We're in election mode again, with a mail-ballot for the city of Gardner.

It's the ninth election of 2015, the most since we had nine in 2005.  If this were an ACT test question, expect nine elections in 2025....

We also got word that we likely will have a school district mail-ballot election in early 2016, so the beat goes on.

It's hard to complain, really.  After all, we exist to administer elections.

Lamenting elections would be like Tom Brady belly-aching about his next game at quarterback, or Al Roker complaining about doing a weather forecast.

In fact, I think it's worth giving it up to election administrators who have processed hundreds of elections and millions of ballots.  We strive to be the voter concierge, and being a concierge implies answering the same question over and over as though we've heard the question for the first time.

(Side note, on election day, we want our workers to be prepared for any type of voter to be their first voter--a perfect voter, an audio ballot, a provisional voter, lost voter, etc.  This preparation paid great dividends in our last election.  More on that in a future post).

This past week, our office had an outing at a minor league baseball at a stadium near the Kansas Speedway.  Hopping on the highway after the game, I saw the Comfort Inn and Suites Kansas Speedway, and I thought about how it must get very old answering the phone, "Thank you for calling the Comfort Inn and Suites Kansas Speedway...."

(Of course, it may be answered, "Thank you for calling.  Your call if very important to us...")

In any event, further praise to those who approach things with the same gusto over and over.

Another night, recently, I happily saw The Psychedelic Furs in concert at the Crossroads.  I've seen the Furs six times, dating back 30 years.  I've seen them play "Pretty in Pink," for instance, in each of those shows.

Yet, the lead singer, Richard Butler, was the same animated self he was at that first concert--the same gestures at the same points in the song, in fact.

It's not as though it was his sixth time in Kansas City (eighth--I missed two), but likely his six thousandth time he's sang that song.

Richard Butler sings Pretty in Pink in KC
So where is this going?  Well, first, I really wanted to post a photo I took at the concert :-)

But, second, I've administered more than 60 elections in 10 1/2 years.  But there are people at our office who passed the 100 mark.  There are people in this country who have administered hundreds of elections.

September is National Voter Registration month.  For those of us in the industry, it's worth pausing this month to reflect on the administrators, too--our peers and colleagues, and congratulate them on bringing energy to their jobs and to voters.

Voters have much more energy for the outcomes of elections--parks, roads, taxes, libraries--than for the election process.  Without elections, there would be no government, at least a government we'd all want to have.

You, dear reader, are likely one of these cogs of the election infrastructure.  Pat yourself on the back and whet your whistle with another cup of coffee at the rinky-dink election office break room.

One of my favorite things at LA County's Election
Warehouse--the lunch room is closed at, well,
lunch time.
Then, get back to work!  You have an election to administer!