Monday, December 03, 2012

Democrats, Progressives, Fieldworks LLC, & Voter Registration Fraud

This interests me as I worked with "Fieldworks, LLC". Fox reports on Fieldworks, LLC, related to voter registration fraud. I worked with this company in Colorado after a year of caring for a relative--meaning a long time of unemployment. I was searching for work in all that time, but just didn't find it. I went-in to do voter registration myself, followed by a long period of knocking on doors for political survey, and then passing out voter lit. I drove people to work, to jobsites, trained new employees each day, handled logistical details and planning, coordinated people... I helped test new software in the field for their operations.

But as far as voter registration fraud is concerned, I think any instances of bad registrations are easily explained. It can be hard to get enough people to register any given day, and there was a quota one was to hit, meant to keep people on their toes and making contacts rather than, potentially, not doing the work (taking off, sitting-around, playing on phones...), usually as people walked-by into grocery stores. Those who didn't hit it could be fired, but they weren't unreasonable. If your quota was 25 and you got 20 forms filled-out, and this consistently, they probably wouldn't fire you (of course, if it didn't vary or you didn't improve...). If you consistently returned with only 5 forms complete (actually if you did that even on your first day), barring extenuating circumstances, you should expect to be axed.

To get my numbers, I did the peanut salesman routine, and found ways to compactly state many services or conveniences that we could provide quickly, to large groups of passersby, in inviting ways: I very actively went toward groups, smiled, and made sure the presentation was not what one would expect the corporate overlords or their lawyers to write--or what the pandering political and chattering classes would call effective communications for outreach: essentially, I took certain principles of their outreach script and, though still observant of legal considerations embodied therein, through their scripts out. [Constultation time: Dear companies everywhere: fire your academical marketers and get more "street"! Also, don't expect people to speak as one properly writes!)]

In the short time I was a part of their voter registration drive, I consistently hit numbers near or above 25 per day: over time, my numbers just kept rising: even toward the end when it got harder and harder, because increasing numbers of people were already registered and the rst were just tired of being bothered, by numbers went up. But not all people have the knowledge and experience "priors" to accomplish this: in fact, I would guess most don't. It's also hard work in that increasing numbers of people are hostile toward you, and each day means hundreds of rejections, jeers, and animosities.

People who do this sort of work tend either to be desperate (lowly) or lowlifes, so fraud can be a problem. As I had just cared for a relative for over a year, had not yet been hired by any others, I was broke, and I jumped at the opportunity to go to work, and was very happy to--despite all the problems and difficulties suffered in the process. Actually, I even gave some forms to another co-worker who suffered low numbers near the end, when they were expecting those left to keep bringing in something equal to or greater than the quota, because he had such a hard time at one end at whose entrances we stood outside of one day.

The actual management and directors (at each office) of Fieldworks, LLC, were quite serious about preventing fraud, following the law, and meeting all necessities on the paperwork; about their employees not assisting in forbidden capacities, making false promises, etc.: as progressives they might dislike taking registrations filled-out by Republicans, but they took and entered them into the databases anyways: it's the law. And I saw people from various offices around the country. From Washington D.C., from Ohio, and from people who worked all around the country through the entire process.

I am neither a Democrat, nor a progressive, (nor for that matter, a Republican or neo-conservative): I just needed an honest job, where the work was not objectionable and the pay was reasonable, conditions were okay (I've had them pretty bad); one could hope where merit would be rewarded. Fieldworks, LLC was all of these. When I got high numbers for a first day, they noticed (about 20, I think). I can't stand a messy office or disordered logistics, so when I came early, I would start organizing the office and prepping materials for our registration drivers, and later our field canvassers: they noticed and promoted me. They helped with gas (though this took special approval from above) when they found out that I was helping coworkers get to work (and in some cases, encouraging or even demanding of the less responsible, for their own sakes', to suck-it-up where they had complaints, and put in the time and effort to make some living).

I would say there were certain cultural and social problems at Fieldworks, LLC (and others related to operations and logistics that could be smoother, more efficient, and so on), but nothing unlike what one can expect out of any group of people. Overall, they were a pretty good company to work with: who knows how they are year to year, because as a "turn key operation" their personal composition changes rather dramatically as their job and personnel requirements swing dramatically, but as far as the last major registration and election cycle went, I would have to say that nothing suggested any willingness to engage in funny business: any fraud came from lone actors who acted against their training, direction, corporate policy, and the agreements to which they affixed their names.

My only regrets are that, (1) as busy as most of them were, as I was, for working in an election season directly related to its events--as long and hard as days are in all kinds of whether and running from door-to-door, I really didn't get to know them well, and even forgot to get some phone numbers. Dang; (2) "fieldworks" is such a common business name, as I found this company while Googling it as a potential name for an operation to do field research and testing for companies. Dang.

To Angela, Scott, Dan, and the rest--sleep deprived as you were (and as much of a "___show", as someone put it, things could be) this may be one-sided but--it was a pleasure.

No comments: