Calm Before the Vote Storm

Calm Before the Vote Storm

Tomorrow's the next big election for Nigeria - the Gubernatorial races*. Well, most of them. Two states had their polls pushed back until Thursday due to security concerns.

Tomorrow is why we've been terming this election the #BiggestPVTEver - NDI's partner, Project 2011 Swift Count, has observers deployed to 6 different states doing statistical analysis. If all goes well, the numbers will enable us to independently verify the results of these races. The priority states were chosen due to the likelihood of a close finish, political volatility, a history of violence or election chicanery, or all of the above. Also, since the governors tend to have more tight control of their districts than a far-away president, they may have more opportunity to try and warp the outcome.

It's been busy around the National Information Center - a lot of prep work, hammering out media plans and working the thousand details for a huge operation like this election monitoring mission. For example, if you have eight thousand people texting in your election reporting information, and you want to credit their cell phones in advance to make sure they have money, there are going to be a percentage changing numbers all. the. time such that they don't get the money they've been promised. Telecom providers will screw up others, and an unscrupulous few will claim they hadn't received their credits when they have. Add in a number of generally confused folks, and there's a lot of people to get sorted out.

Then there's meals - our data clerks work long, hard shifts - but the best times for dinner are during the windows when most of our observers need to be in touch with them. So do you make the long-suffering clerks eat early, late, or in quick shifts?

Most importantly, we have to get the coffee and tea arranged. It was late last election. Not cool.

For me, I've spent most of the last few days attempting to think of things that could go wrong and fixing them. Working with NDI and Swift Count's local IT staff, we've split the wireless in half, spun up 3(!) additional servers, and rewired the network.

Meanwhile, our developers TimbaObjects have been adding additional functionality, optimizing the database, and tweaking things for the ever-shifting set of states that are actually having a vote tomorrow.

I'll be in at 6:30 AM to do some final tests and make sure everything is working properly. Fingers crossed.

* Delightfully referred to as "Goobers"