by Emily Lippolis, Special Contributor
The biggest problem facing Virginia registrars is a lack of resources. They are understaffed, overworked, and last-minute legislative acts (like mandating ballots in Spanish) mean that they are often burdened with unforeseen changes right before Election Day. Poll workers are well-trained but most experience their first real day of work on Election Day. There is usually not enough money to create data for election statistics at individual precincts. Furthermore, each precinct is different and has their own set of needs.
All of this led our working group on Election Day “party planning” to conclude that what registrars need most are business management-like resources, and not broad solutions to haphazardly apply to every precinct. Most large businesses track their resources so that they can determine how different processes and investments lead to different outcomes. Many large companies, like Walt Disney World and UPS, have already done the research necessary to mitigate many of the issues that create delays at the polls. Some states have already solved the problems facing other states, and just need a medium to communicate their solutions with the rest of the country. If election officials had the same resources used by big businesses to create maximum efficiency and customer satisfaction, then elections would run a lot more smoothly in Virginia. Continue reading