How the City of Burnsville Automated Election Judge Scoring
Laserfiche Solution Contributed By: Megan McNeal, Deputy City Clerk, City of Burnsville
Located just outside of Minneapolis, MN, the City of Burnsville (population 61,000) is currently renovating and modernizing a number of its facilities. Complementary to these updates, the city has been moving toward paperless business processes and automation.
The most time consuming process for the city was the election judge application process. In a presidential election year, over 300 election judges are needed to staff the city’s 17 precincts, which means that more than 300 applications, skills tests, training and onboarding activities must be processed in a relatively short period of time. The responsibility to coordinate this falls on the city clerk’s office, which previously relied completely on paper to manage election judge applications and selection.
Now, the process is completely automated. Prospective election judges complete the application and skills test online using Laserfiche Forms. The city has automated the skills test scoring with Laserfiche Workflow, eliminating nearly all the manual tasks once required in selecting election judges.
“Our Electronic Content Management team researched case studies, contacted other cities, and reached out to our vendor, and no one had done what we were proposing to do, especially as it related to scoring the skills test. We accepted the challenge!” said – Dana Hardie, Director of Administrative Services.
The city first upgraded to Laserfiche Rio in mid-March, 2016 and was able to automate the application process by April 1, with the help of their solution provider.
“For this process alone, we estimate saving 80 staff hours that were spent mailing applications, scoring tests and maintaining a huge spreadsheet of applicants,” said Hardie. “In addition to productivity gains, there are also the cost savings of eliminating mass mailing entirely.”
Prior to implementing Laserfiche Rio, the process to recruit and manage the applications and skills tests for election judges was done manually. The city clerk’s office printed hundreds of applications and tests, and mailed/emailed them out to prospective judges, and also posted the application on the city’s website for download. This inflated the city’s printing costs and required time to print and mail the documents.
Applicants filled out the application and mailed/emailed it back to the clerk’s office where the deputy clerk reviewed each one to ensure all required fields were complete. The 300-400 applications were all received within a few weeks and had to be scored as quickly as possible. The clerk then entered the data from the applications into a spreadsheet. If a required field was not completed, or if the application was not legible, the applicant would need to be contacted to obtain clarification.
In addition to completing the application, applicants must pass a skills test, which was previously scored by hand. If the test was incomplete or needed to be retaken, the deputy city clerk had to contact those individuals. In total, this process took weeks and required intensive administrative work.
The city automated the process using Laserfiche Forms and Workflow.
To replace the paper applications, the city created an online application using Laserfiche Forms. The city has a link to the application on the city website, where prospective election judges provide necessary information. Once the application is submitted, Laserfiche Workflow renames it according to the applicant’s name and saves the application to the Laserfiche repository in a folder by year. Upon completion of the application, Laserfiche Forms automatically directed the applicant to the skills test form, and then sent an email acknowledging receipt of the submitted application and skills test, and providing them with more information about the election process.
Workflow sends an email to the applicant with a link to the skills test, which is a different Laserfiche form. The 20-question test comprises a mix of questions that applicants answer via radio buttons, drop downs and short answer.
Once the applicant submits the test, Laserfiche Forms saves it to the repository and emails the applicant to notify them of receipt.
The city also automated the skills test scoring with Laserfiche Workflow. The score is recorded as a field in the test’s metadata and each applicant begins with a score of zero. For the multiple choice section of the test, each correct answer is worth one point and each incorrect answer is worth zero points. Workflow adds the score for each question. For the math section, Workflow compares the applicant’s answer to the correct answer and awards one point if it is an exact match.
Applicants must score a 15 or higher to become an election judge (with special circumstances for returning judges or those who speak English as a second language).
With Laserfiche, the City of Burnsville was able to automate the election judge application process and make it almost completely paperless. The process made applications easier for citizens to complete and much easier for city employees to score. The city was also able to reuse the process for the student election judge application process with minimal modification.
Benefits of the Laserfiche implementation for the City of Burnsville include:
- 80-plus hours saved per election cycle for the deputy city clerk alone
- Hundreds of dollars saved every year in postage and printing costs
- Guaranteed accuracy as a result of automatic scoring
- Ensured legibility of applications
- Multiple uses for a single process
While the City of Burnsville’s solution is specific to the election judge application process, it can easily be extended to any scenario that requires a simple quiz evaluation. Check out the Business Process Library as a starting point for your own scoring needs.