Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Voting fun - don't let the customers see the sausage being made

Technically this is not a business story, but it certainly has a business application.

Today is primary election day in California. My usual routine is to go to the polling place when it opens at 7:00 am, vote, and then head to work. Today my routine was a little unusual, since polling places have been moved around this year. I found the new location, found the actual polling place, and then had to find parking. I ended up parking underground - underground parking in Ontario, California - go figure. (A few minutes later, when I left the polling place, I discovered that I had parked in the business' "employee parking" area.)

So I went up to the actual polling location, which in California is designated by a bunch of signs (mostly of the "no electioneering here" variety). Right at 7:00, I walked into the room where I was supposed to vote, and got to observe the polling workers, who were clearly not ready for any voters to arrive.

The most visible (and audible) polling person was a guy who was standing there, loudly questioning a woman. "Where are you going to put the name register?" he continuously asked, and not in a helpful way. It also became clear that he was not the person running the polling place; he was just the person standing around and asking questions. The woman took the name register from a table on the left side of the room to a table on the right side of the room, and then took it back to the left again.

Meanwhile there was a woman in the back of the room who was on the phone. I think that she was the person in charge, but I'm not sure. She was telling someone that they hadn't received something or another that they needed.

After I stood there for a couple of minutes, the guy stopped asking questions and turned around and saw me. "Can I help you?" he asked.

"I'm here to vote," I replied.

He explained that they weren't quite ready yet, and that voting couldn't start until a particular person said that the polls were open.

Someone else noted that it was ANOTHER person that was supposed to say that the polls were open.

Then everyone went back to doing whatever they were doing - one woman on the phone, the guy asking questions, and everyone else just standing around.

By this time it was 7:05, and I was thinking to myself, "Do I really want to be the first person to cast a vote at THIS precinct?"

As everyone continued to scurry around, I turned around, walked back to the underground parking, and drove off to work.

The one bright spot is that when I get back to the polling place before 8:00 pm - that is, IF I get back to the polling place before 8:00 pm - the polling workers will presumably know what they are doing, and perhaps loudmouth guy will have gone home to ask unhelpful questions of his neighbors.

The bad thing? That underground parking was pretty limited, and by the time the Democrats come to vote (you know the deal - Republicans vote early, Democrats vote late), there won't be any parking available.

I miss my old polling place. The parking was more flexible...
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