The man behind the election: Alan Glover
November 8, 2012
The hectic election season didn’t end Tuesday night for Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover. It was only the beginning of the end.It’s been a three-week sprint for those working in the clerk-recorder’s office, beginning with preparation for early voting and ending when the last file is closed on the 2012 General Election. And Glover, a Carson City native, loves it.“This is a great job, really a great job,” Glover said in an interview from his office during the early voting period. “It’s always interesting, especially during election year.”Glover, who has held the clerk-recorder position since 1994 and also from 1985-1991, commended his staff for their help making a complicated task easier. He has a permanent staff of four with an additional 14 people brought in for the election, plus dozens of poll-place volunteers.Even with the extra help, Glover puts in long hours on polling days.During early voting, days start “a little before 7 (a.m.). I come in and turn all the voting machines on; put the voting cards out. I check paperwork from the night before and make sure it all balances. We have people in line before 8 (when the polls open).”Even as Glover and his staff tackle election tasks, the everyday business of the office continues including personnel issues, the issuing of marriage licenses and ministerial licenses, plus activities related to keeping and accessing the records of the city. When Glover’s presence is not essential for these tasks, he turns his attention to the absentee ballots, checking for signatures, stamping and sorting them by precincts.“I try to do them myself because, if there’s ever a problem, it’s always with the absentee ballots.”One of the more common problems with absentee ballots is with the signatures. Sometimes a husband and wife will accidentally sign each other’s absentee ballot, he said, or forget to sign them altogether. In those cases, the staff will attempt to call the voter to come in to sign their ballot. Without a signature, the ballot cannot be counted.From early voting through election day, Glover said the process had been “smooth.”Again, he credited the staff and volunteers.“You really need to staff well,” he said, adding that it doesn’t pay to be cheap about staffing. “They’re the best buy, (in preventing election issues).”Glover’s Election Day actually started with set up the night before. On the big day itself, he was up at 4 a.m. and working at 5. Workers started coming in at 6 a.m. Polling locations at Fuji Park and Carson City Community Center were opened, flags put out, voting machines turned on, coffee started and doughnuts picked up for poll workers, and supplies and codebooks put out. This year, voters enjoyed perfect fall weather. But if it had been stormy, the polling locations are also equipped with backup generators.Glover spent time at each polling location on Tuesday. A couple times during the day, he added up long lists of numbers to tally the number of voters who had come through. By 2 p.m., 2,565 had voted at the Community Center.When not answering questions from staff and voters, he circulated among the volunteers. Sometimes they discussed issues that had come up and other times chatted about the weather. Periodically, Glover could be seen on his cell phone talking to public officials, members of the press and staff.The most common issue is why a voter’s name doesn’t show up on the roster. Often staff at the information desk, which is connected to the city and state voter registration database, tracked down the problem.Numerous people showed up at the wrong polling location and a short drive across town solved the problem for them. Others had name changes since the last election that hadn’t been recorded, so for that day, they signed under their old name.More complicated were those who had moved to Carson City but not changed their registration. Some were too far away to make it to their polling location. Still others had said on jury questionnaires that they had moved out of the county and had been taken off the voter roster in Carson City, or were removed because they hadn’t voted for several years.The most frustrating problem for Glover, is when would-be voters registered with one of many groups that come through canvassing neighborhoods and shopping centers to register people to vote. Often, these out-of-towners don’t bother to turn registration paperwork into the clerk’s office.“They’ve disenfranchised these people,” Glover said. “That really annoys me.”As Glover toured the polling locations, back at the clerk-recorder’s office committees checked, counted and recounted the military e-ballots, hospital ballots, and absentee ballots.With only two polling locations and a small geographical area to cover, tallying the vote in Carson City is a quick affair. Absentee and early voting results are released soon after polls close. Cartridges from the polling machines were back in the office by 8 p.m. and, with the count automated, Glover and staff were home by 10 p.m.“That’s not bad,” Glover said. “In the old days (of paper ballots), it was 1 or 2 in the morning. But now, the cartridges read so fast.”Election Day is an exciting day, but then comes the day after.“Everybody is so damn tired, it’s the hardest day in an election,” Glover said. “The next few days, there’s canvassing, bags of printers and machines come back in and have to be put in the right order; coffee pots with coffee grounds still in them.”So even today, two days after the election, the office work of the clerk-recorder’s office continues.