Just following up on my call to Judge Silkworth’s office, as I received a return call a couple of days afterwards.

If you recall that post, the weather started to get bad about 6 PM. Not surprisingly, there were no judges actually working in their offices by the time the election board decided to seek an extension. Not very surprisingly, there is apparently no ‘on call’ judge for election day.

So it took a while to reach a judge, any judge, who had the authority to send the order, which was what was needed to begin contacting the counties and telling them to contact the districts.

So no one really screwed up, and the system actually worked. I can accept this.

But I think I’ll write a letter suggesting that a system of text messaging be set up to parallel and compliment the current dedicated phone system for emergency communication. I’m sure many, if not most, chief judges carry cel phones and can get text messages from BoE.


3 Responses

  1. I’m not sure how effective that would be. First off, text messages sometimes take a long time to be delivered, particularly if they are not sent directly from one phone to another on the same network. And it has been my experience that a lot of people my age and older (the age range of many if not most Chief Judges) don’t know how to find a text message on their phone if they get one.

    So yes, text messages might help some polling places. But the question is whether the time needed to make sure someone at the BoE knows how to send text messages, has groups set up in advance to text all of the Chief Judges at once, and spends the time to send the messages would produce significant enough gains to warrant the effort.

    My own thought would be to instruct the Chief Judges that if they have any doubt, just take provisional ballots after 8:00. The BoE can always just discard those ballots later if the hours were not extended–that is why they are in those easy-to-identify envelopes. And if you turn a voter away, there is nothing you can do to get that vote back.

  2. @Free: A fair idea – but how late do you keep the polls open if there’s a doubt? 10pm? 11pm? Could you send some of the judges and poll workers home? When do you report your results? At what point does the BoE consider your results late, or lost?

    I’d considered suggesting “robos” – get a calling ‘bot put to good use rather than just bothering you at dinnertime. (“Hello, this is the BoE. We are extending polling hours to 9:30. Your precinct is 6-2-6. Your confirmation code is A-4-3-8.”)

  3. Also…I think it’s a bit generous to say “no one screwed up”. They were not adequately prepared. There might not have been a single individual at fault, but that doesn’t mean there was no fault to be ascribed. As in most cases, there were plenty of collective screw-ups.

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