How We Helped Election Officials Learn in 2017

2017 was a busy year for CTCL’s professional development program. We convened a group of insightful advisors to help steer the direction of our training, offered our first-ever series of online courses, and traveled nationwide to work with election officials in their offices.

All told, we trained more than 300 officials in 15 states!

Follow along as we reflect on a year of visiting new places, meeting new people, and learning together.

By the way, if you’re interested in learning with CTCL in 2018, get in touch with us!

The Advisory Committee

At CTCL, we strive to be reflective. So, to get feedback on our courses and ideas for growth, we put together an Advisory Committee in early 2017, inviting some of the best and brightest in the election field to share perspectives on professional development.

Advisors Toni Pippins-Poole, Grace Wachlarowicz, and Tim Tsujii reviewing course outlines

Advisors Toni Pippins-Poole, Grace Wachlarowicz, and Tim Tsujii reviewing course outlines

Starting with a kickoff meeting in Chicago last March, our Advisors have played an invaluable role in helping us improve our offerings and reach fresh audiences. We owe much of our impact in 2017 to their advice and support.

Harford County, Maryland

When we first spoke with officials from the Harford County Board of Elections at a conference, they shared a challenge that they were dealing with: wanting to improve their website. Soon, we were traveling to Maryland to provide guidance for remodeling their site and advancing their Twitter skills. 

Participants discussing social media strategy in Harford County

Participants discussing social media strategy in Harford County

Since we worked with them, the Harford County Board of Elections Twitter account has become known for its fun and engaging content, even being recognized in an ElectionLine article.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis and Minnesota are known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to election administration. So, when we worked with Minneapolis’s Elections and Voter Services Division, we helped the staff build upon an already strong foundation of skills regarding social media, data, and communicating online.

Officials in Minneapolis learning how to work with datasets

Officials in Minneapolis learning how to work with datasets

In the months following our social media course, the Division’s Twitter account has more than doubled its number of followers and, like Harford County, was spotlighted in ElectionLine.

Summer School

Held in July and August, our online series of Summer School courses was our breakout success of 2017. The courses brought together over 100 election officials from jurisdictions as big as Dallas County, Texas (population: 2.6 million) and as small as Houghton, Michigan (population: 8,000). 

We were excited to see how the low cost and convenience of online learning can bring people together.

Kurt and Whitney preparing to go live in the Summer School control room

Kurt and Whitney preparing to go live in the Summer School control room

If you missed Summer School, don’t worry: we’re offering the same four courses again this February, and we’re adding two brand new courses: Messages to Motivate Voters and Poll Worker Management Best Practices. 

Check out the details on our Online Series web page

St. Louis County, Missouri

If you’re just getting started with social media, you need to know the basics. But if you have more experience, it’s valuable to get an assessment of your work and guidance to improve. That’s what we provided for the St. Louis County Board of Elections in a custom online course.

Covering Facebook Insights with St. Louis County

Covering Facebook Insights with St. Louis County

Identifying work done well and areas for improvement, we offered lots of ideas to stimulate discussion and help the Board get more from its social media outreach.

Edwards County, Kansas

Until September, Edwards County was one of many small, rural counties without a website to provide civic information to the public. Using the website template created by CTCL, we helped the Edwards County Clerk set up web infrastructure and discussed best practices for civic communication online. 

Working with the Edwards County Clerk’s office staff

Working with the Edwards County Clerk’s office staff

Since its launch, www.edwardscountyelections.org has been the subject of local media coverage and has received thousands of page views.

San Francisco, California

We rounded out 2017 with a trip to the West Coast, training large groups of election officials at the San Francisco Department of Elections. To meet the needs of the Department, we prepared an in-depth, tailored course on using election data and joined it with shorter sessions on social media and accessible communication. 

Discussing accessible communication with officials in San Francisco

Discussing accessible communication with officials in San Francisco

Participants appreciated getting to create customized maps using San Francisco data, and we felt privileged to work with such a big group of dedicated election folks. 

What’s next 

With 2017 in the rearview mirror, we’re excited to continue cultivating our professional development courses and expand our curricula in this midterm election year. 

It’s our goal to reach new groups of curious election officials in 2018, and we’re hoping to see you in our classroom -- whether it’s online or face to face -- in the months ahead.