On the early voting front-line

September 12, 2008

I will again be an early voting poll worker beginning October 16 for the Wake County Board of Elections for this fall’s general election. I will be working 73 of the 114 hours the Pullen Arts Center early voting site will be open (and taking annual leave for the hours that fall in my normal workday). Of course, it will wind up being a lot more than 73 hours as those in line when voting hours end each day will be able to vote.

 Vote early! Learn more at WakeVotesEarly.com!

In 2004, I also worked Pullen Arts Center for early voting, pretty much the same hours.  Besides helping out with a civic duty by enabling more people to vote, I learned a lot about the election process.  Some of my observations of the early voting and canvassing process led to some changes in the elections law (Bill Gilkeson and I handle election law drafting for the North Carolina General Assembly). Those changes wound up in two omnibus election bills from the 2005 session:

1) House Bill 1115 of the 2005 Session included these changes as summarized in the bill title: “to permit the same kind of voter assistance in one‑stop sites as at voting places on election day; to expressly provide that precinct transfer voters at one‑stop sites need not vote provisional ballots; to delete the requirement that one‑stop voters be instructed in how to vote mail absentee ballots …to extend for three days the county canvass after a general election in November of an even‑numbered year and change other related dates; to expressly allow electronic pollbooks …”

2) House Bill 128 of the 2005 Session included the following provisions “to authorize county boards of elections to take steps earlier to count mailed absentee votes … and to provide that except for their  ENVELOPE, PROVISIONAL BALLOTS SHALL NOT BE MARKED TO BE IDENTIFIABLE TO A VOTER”

In the 2007 drafting of House Bill 91, I was able to relate to some of the practical issues in same day voter registration.

Here is what the Wake County Board of Elections says about working at the polls:

You want to work election day or early voting — the Wake County Board of Elections still needs people. The county notes:

“Did you know that it takes THOUSANDS of election workers to conduct an election in Wake County?  The Board of Elections is always looking for people to staff Election Day polling places and early voting sites.  Become an election worker and learn about the elections process first-hand while you help bring voting to your community. 

The Board of Elections is recruiting people to staff the 16 early voting sites this fall.  Most positions are full-time, but there are a few part-time evening and weekend positions available.  The pay for these positions will range from $9.75 to $11.25 per hour.

Job Description:
  • Look up voters using a laptop
  • Hand out ballots
  • Provide voter assistance
  • Assist curbside voters
  • Issue provisional ballots
  • Assist voters applying to register & vote at the same time   


  • All employees must pass a data entry test (except for previous early voting supervisors)
  • Must be able to attend one or more 8-hour training classes
  • Must be able to sit and stand for at least one hour at a time
  • Must have reliable transportation




2007-2008 Drafting workload totals

September 5, 2008
I’ve finally had a chance to total up all the bill requests received by North Carolina legislative staff for 2007-2008 and compare the totals to those for 2005-2006, 2003-2004, and 2001-2002. I’ve tracked the number of blank bill requests and excluded them from the totals. Staff workload is up 6% from 2005, up 61% from 2003, and up 67% from 2001.
Blank bills dropped dramatically after a six year rise, House rules in 2007 banned them and Senate rules limited them to two per member:
2001    491
2003    559
2005    563
2007     86
Total drafting requests for each biennial session:

  2007 2005 2003 2001  
Bill Drafting Div. 4986 4687 2920 3103  
Research Division 707 680 613 298  
Total Draft Requests 5693 5367 3533 3401  




% Change        
  2005 to 2007     2003 to 2007 2001 to 2007  
Bill Drafting Div. +6.4% +70.8% +60.7%  
Research Division +4.0% +15.3% +137.2%  
Total +6.1% +61.1% +67.4%


archive of workload posts is here.

Final drafting workload stats for 2008

September 5, 2008
Now that we’ve concluded the 2008 short session of the North Carolina General Assembly, I’ve gone back and updated my post of May 23, 2008 comparing bill drafting requests for 2008, 2006, 2004, and 2002.
While our workload is up  78% comparing 2008 with 2002 and up 35% comparing 2008 with 2004, it was off 30% from 2006, which was a welcome relief.
TOTALS, all comparisons to end of each short session:

  2008 2006 2004 2002  
Bill Drafting Div. 1274 1927 889 714  
Research Division 273 269 258 154  
Total Draft Requests 1547 2196 1147 868  




% Change        
  2006 to 2008     2004 to 2008 2002 to 2008  
Bill Drafting Div. -33.9% +43.3% +78.4%  
Research Division +1.5% +5.8% +77.3%  
Total -29.6% +34.9% +78.2%