Effective immediately, this blog is - at most - tied for second in the competition for best election administration blog on the Web.
That's because Johnson County, KS' Brian Newby - friend, colleague and election geek extraordinaire - has launched ElectionDiary.com, a site that is (in Brian's words) "written by an election geek for election geeks, as well as anybody else who has an interest in the behind-the-scenes work of election administration."
Since a soft launch in early January, Brian has already blogged about a number of different topics - mail elections, website hacking, voter ID - with a point of view that a friendly outsider like me simply can't match. I especially like this section from his inaugural post where he talks about what the blog isn't:
It's not about the presidential election only. As I type this, we are preparing for two mail-ballot elections on January 31, a special city council replacement election on Valentine's Day, a spring election for five cities in April, and a potential primary for some of those races at the end of February. Many people think election officials only work a couple days a year--I guess that's sort of the point of this blog, to explain what we do on the other days.
I'm really looking forward to reading this blog as it continues; Brian is one of the very best examples of what I think the future of election administration holds - and anyone who wants to know what it's like to be an election professional needs to add ElectionDiary to their bookmarks TODAY.
The arrival of ElectionDiary is especially timely because it coincides with the disappearance of a vital - yet often unappreciated source of election administration news and information.
Beginning January 2, Jeannie Layson started a new job in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. It's a terrific opportunity for her, but it means that @EACGov, the Twitter stream she started and lovingly curated day in and day out, has fallen silent.
It may seem like a little thing, but Jeannie's @EACGov was (in my opinion) the best thing the agency did on a day-to-day basis, sharing information and inviting comment from the field. Congress and the White House may look at the four Commissioner vacancies and see an agency on the brink of extinction; I look at @EACGov - which last Tweeted on December 27 - and see unmistakable signs that the agency is already nearly gone.
Fortunately, Brian Newby is bloggin' up a storm - and, I hope, inspiring other election geeks to do the same. In my book, that's a win.