Prior to every election, we conduct our version of a dress rehearsal. Everyone has a critical role, everyone’s effort is sequenced and timed, and every time we do it we learn from it. Tonight there were about 60 people participating in “The Mock.” It’s held at night to simulate conditions—driving, checking things under portable lights at receiving stations and relaying the movement of equipment and ballots, and giving staff practice at directing traffic.
We test everything. (Everything except the equipment that is—it’s already been tested, secured and locked down in preparation for the election). Here’s just a few of the things that were tested:
• the time it takes to deliver the JBCs,
• security protocols – (did everyone scan the barcodes on each piece of equipment that travels on Election night?),
• traffic patterns as drivers deliver ballots and equipment on Election night to the warehouse at Tower Road,
• the extraction of the electronic memory cards and the reading of test ballots in the Secure Tally Room,
• even the timed delivery of election results to the Secretary of State’s Office and our websites applications that report results to the public is tested!
We look for weaknesses. We determine if the training was clear and prepared our election workers for their tasks. We ask ourselves if our planning and improvements were on target. If something doesn’t work, it’s analyzed and changed so that on Election Night, things work more smoothly.
And, I’ve noted that in almost every Mock Election, the Elections Manager, David Tom, will intentionally create a problem that others have to notice, troubleshoot and resolve.
All of this keeps everyone on their toes—poised for service—and ready for success.