What happens if you hold an election and no one shows up? Well that’s what happened recently at one polling place in Sonoma County, California. The Rohnert Park precinct on the Sonoma State University campus saw not one voter on June 3. Not one. “Maybe a couple of people came by to drop off mail ballots, but we didn’t have a single voter,” Gloria Colter, assistant registrar told The San Francisco Chronicle. This is of course an extreme, but as we prepare to hit the halfway point in the 2014 mid-term election cycle, turnout has been abysmally low with some states and the District of Columbia hitting record low numbers. Obviously there is a litany of reasons for why voters don’t show up during non-presidential years, but what impact does low voter turnout have on elections officials?
“Our staff understand the election trend and anticipated turnout going into the election. Having this understanding helps keep everyone’s expectation in line with the work load,” said John Gardner, assistant registrar of voters of Solano County, California.
In fact many elections officials said that they use the opportunity of low-turnout elections as training for the future.
“The good part of a lower turnout election is that it provides some freedom for staff to participate in parts of the process that they wouldn’t see in a high turnout election,” Gardner said. “This helps us work cross training into both line level staff and supervisors. Additionally it provides some room to evaluate and improve upon processes and technology to help us perform better in a heavier turnout election.”
Full Article: electionlineWeekly.