Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Today's agenda

6 a.m. : Prepare to open my polling location. As chair of the host precinct, mine and two others will be voting together today, Republicans and Democrats combined. Three precincts times two political parties means up to six precinct caucus conventions in one location this evening (though there will likely be only four; the Repubs aren't quite so numerous in my little West U enclave).

7 a.m. : Poll opens. Weather in Houston today is cool -- low 40s, forecast high of 60, with a brisk wind -- so voters need to be wrangled inside the school entry until it warms up later. Difficulty parking, long lines, possibly frayed tempers could result. Queueing and caucusing instructions will be announced repeatedly for arriving voters throughout the day.

Noon: Have a closing appointment this afternoon, so away I go.

3 p.m. : The Harris County Clerk is conducting the logic and accuracy test downtown, so in my responsibility as the elections observer for the county, I'll be in attendance.

4 p.m. or so : Tabulation of early votes begins at the CCO. This is the fun part. I will observe as the seals are opened on the packets for each EV location, the electronic cards fed into and read by the processor and ultimately totaled. These are the first results that get reported on the county's website, which appear shortly after 7 p.m. Since I will be returning to my polling place, none of these results will be revealed to me prior to my departure. The standard protocol is to run the total, at which point everyone in the room -- the county clerk's election staff, observers, IT personnel and security -- is on "radio silence"; no cellphones or laptops on, no communication with the outside world. For about two hours a handful of people know what everyone else wants to know, but nobody gets to until 7 p.m. when the polls close.

5 p.m. : Back to my precinct to conclude the election. My election judges are the absolute best.

7 p.m. : Polls close, precinct conventions to begin at 7:15 or when the last person in line has voted. I've made preparations to conduct my precinct convention (aka caucus), but if I don't get elected permanent chair I won't be disappointed.

7:15 p.m. or later
: Caucuses begin. We'll see what mayhem or mischief may be in store as the presidential campaigns jockey for delegates to the Senate District convention on March 29.

9 or 10 p.m. or later
: Caucuses are concluded, so I am returning downtown for more central counting office observance, into the wee hours of the morning or until I can't stand the fun any longer.

No posting until I recover on Wednesday.

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