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Search results: "Emily Lippolis"

Symposium Report: Conclusions of the “Party Planning” work group with Sec. Scott Gessler and Fairfax County Registrar Cameron Quinn

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

Hurricane Sandy and Election Day in New York: What Can we Learn From Disaster?

by Emily Lippolis

Big storms tend to bring out the Eagle Scout in all of us. Nature reminds us that we are not always in control of our access to basic necessities and our ability to move freely so we stock up and hunker down. When the storm passes, most of us end up a little better off. Now we know what our contingency plan is, we have canned goods and bottled water for the next storm, and we figure out what needs to be fixed around the house. You would think that the lessons most people learn from natural disasters would also inform our voting system, but sadly, they have not. If Sandy has taught us anything, it has been how weak our system is when it comes to overcoming disasters.  Continue reading

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