What’s It Like To Be – Elections Specialist

Each state handles the details of elections differently. is month, we talked to Daniel Simpson, an Elections Specialist in North Carolina.

Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
My name is Daniel Simpson, and I work as an Elections Specialist at the North Carolina State Board of Elections. I graduated from Duke University in 2011 and from Northwestern University’s graduate school in 2014. I have lived in
North Carolina all my life, and I absolutely love it. My father and grandfather are my greatest career inspirations.

Please tell our readers a little bit about what the board of elections does?
Board of Elections is the state agency charged with conducting elections in North Carolina and ensuring that they are fair and accurate. We work directly with all 100 counties in the state to ensure that they have no problems administering elections in their counties.

Why is this work important?
The ability of citizens to elect their government is one of the cornerstones of U.S. democracy. For everyone to have faith in our government, it is essential that elections are carried out in a consistent, fair and speedy way. I can think of no job more important than protecting and administering an essential right of Americans.

What is one thing you wish everyone knew about voting and the Board of Elections?
I wish people knew how much planning, preparation and manpower go into running an election. It is an enormous operation that deploys thousands of volunteers and takes months of training to prepare for. Most people only see what happens on Election Day, but the election process in far more involved.

What do you do when there are no elections going on?
There really is no such thing as “no elections going on.” Once one election is over and the results are finalized, we are already preparing for the next election. Between general elections, primary elections, municipal elections and special elections, there is always something to plan for. For example, we are already hard at work developing a new computer program for election administration in future elections

What is the coolest thing about your job?
My job allows me to aid people of all ages, races and political persuasions in exercising their right to vote … what could be cooler than that? is past year I’ve helped many people, including a 100-year-old woman, a Marine colonel, a Duke University professor and an NBA player. Being able to see people from many different backgrounds all so passionate about voting makes me proud to do what I do, and proud to be an American citizen.

What kind of training does it take to work at the Board of Elections?
First, you need a working knowledge of how government and elections function. And you must be willing and open to learning new things because election laws change often. Most importantly, you need to have an open mind and a willingness to put your work above your politics.

Can you tell us something challenging about your work?
Because I work with so many different counties, I must be constantly mindful of my audience. For example, a process that works well for a small mountain county might not be the best for a large coastal county. Being able to identify with so many different people is tough, but it really makes their life easier, which is exactly my goal.

What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day at the Board of Elections is never dull! I work together with 12 different counties and stay in touch with them o en to see how things are going in their areas. I also work on processing voter registration forms when I’m not advising the counties. Additionally, I spend time designing computer programs and forms to make life easier for other administrators.

What do you like to do when you are not working?
One of my favorite activities is simply spending time with my girlfriend and our two dogs, Echo and Charlie. I’m also an avid sports fan and enjoy watching football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. When I get some time to myself, I love to read science fiction. My favorite authors are Ray Bradbury and Dan Simmons.

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