We know that in every corner of the country, our amazing election officials are calmly, patiently, professionally working through the last tasks before the polls open on November 8 to get ready for the counting. We also know that your jobs are far from done when the returns are in.
Odds are good that there are dozens of checklists in place so you can make sure that things go smoothly. We have one more place you might think about using checklists–for the next election, of course: on forms for voters.
So, good luck on Election Day 2016. Be safe. And, may the margins of victory be wide!
Every county we know works hard to make sure that voters can fill out important election forms without mistakes. Whether it’s a voter registration update, vote-by-mail envelopes, the forms that go along with provisional ballots, or forms to let voters fix mistakes on a previous form, each of them has a process.
Don’t just hope that voters have followed the instructions and gotten everything right. Put a checklist at the end of the form, where voters can’t miss it.
List actions to prevent the most frequent mistakes (and anything else that can be a problem). You don’t have to repeat all of the instructions. This is a reminder, not the full instruction.
Cover all the steps in the process. Nothing is too obvious to include, but the most important reminders are:
Talk directly to the voter. Make the checklist active, with each item in the list a question to the voter. Two ideas for how to write the checklist so it’s clear and simple are shown below.
When confronted with a pile of paperwork, it’s easy to forget a signature or even to put the ballot in the envelope. Adding a checklist can make the difference between a successfully completed form, and a lost vote.
Try it on your next form or letter. You might be rewarded with clear signs that voters noticed—and used—the checklist.