Election Diary: Day Two

Well, okay, this isn’t really “day two” at all — it’s more like day 12 for us in terms of our work with Elections PEI on the Provincial General Election. But this is the first time I’ve had since “day one” last week to come up for air and report on what we’ve been up to.

Back last Monday when I last reported in, we were about to launch our big data entry effort. The next night we gathered in our bunker in the basement of the Shaw Building in Charlottetown and managed the process of having over 90,000 electors updated in the registry of electors by a team of 112 data entry staff.

The night went very well — there were none of the browser-compatibility and network access problems we’d encountered back in 2003 — and because the confirmation process, for the first time in a provincial election, involved working from “pre-filled in” confirmation forms — using information gathered in 2003 and in subsequent municipal elections and provincial by-elections — the whole province wasn’t being “entered in from scratch” so things, relatively speaking, flew by. By 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday night the majority of the data entry task was completed and with a little clean-up on Wednesday we were ready to print the Preliminary List of Electors on Thursday morning.

Once the Preliminary List was out the door, work began on processing any new information that came in from Returning Officers about changes, additions or deletions to the list. The deadline for changes was this Tuesday night, and with that information updated in the database we were ready to generate the Official List of Electors this morning. I burned the CD to go to the Queen’s Printer this morning just before lunch, and their giant super-capable steam-powered Xerox machines are busy churning out the lists as I write.

They’ll be put to use for the first time on Saturday when Advance Polls open for the first time.

With that CD out the door, our job is done for now. At least in terms of hard-edge data management. Our focus now turns towards polling day — May 28th — and the system we built first for the 1996 election (but that’s evolved heavily since then) that delivers unofficial election results. More on that later.


Andrew MacPherson's picture
Andrew MacPherson on May 17, 2007 - 22:16 Permalink

I really miss the mechanics of PEI electoral politics. As a teenager I volunteered on a couple of campaigns on the island but didn’t get heavily involved in the mechanics of the campaign. In the past two federal elections I have compiled the supporter tracking database for one of the campaigns in the federal riding I live. In has ~110,000 registered voters. I can only imagine what it would be like to have less than five thousand voters to try and contact each election….

Individual voter registration for each election is a very good thing. This was phased out at the federal level after 2000 and now the voters list are updated from income tax filings and are very inaccurate — especially in places with a significant transient population.