My granddaughter likely never will ask me this question: Grandpa, what did you do on Election Day 2014?
But if she did, I would have something rather interesting to tell her.
I would tell little Emma I worked all day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. as an exit pollster.
My job, which I’m doing for a public opinion research firm, is to interview voters as they exit the polling place at Randall County’s Courthouse Annex. Well, I don’t “interview” them per se. I will ask them if they would mind filling out a short questionnaire telling who they voted for, what are the key issues of the day and then a little bit about themselves.
I’ve got to log every person who takes part, everyone who refuses and everyone I “miss,” those who walk by without being asked if they’ll participate. I have to be sure to make a record of it.
Three times during the day I’ll call in voting results; I’ll report the total number of people voting, total “misses” and “refusals.” The polling firm is interested in the races for Texas governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. Senate.
The polling is being done on behalf of all the major media outlets in the country: CNN, Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, The Associated Press.
They gather this data from all across the country during the day, compile and then report their findings nationally to an audience awaiting the election returns when the polls start closing around 7 or 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
It’s going to be a challenge to make sure I get all the data collected that’s required.
My adviser at the polling firm assures me it will be fun. She also believes I’ll find my rhythm once I get going. I’m going to take here word for it.
So, with that I’m off to my polling station for what I believe will be a most interesting day watching democracy at work.
Oh, by the way: Be sure to vote.