Elections for Ann Arbor City Council take place every year, as the two-year terms for Members of the Council are staggered. A list of polling locations for the 48 precincts across five wards is maintained by the City Clerk.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. After the polls have closed and election workers have printed off the results tapes, a longstanding Ann Arbor custom is for supporters of City Council candidates to collect early results directly from the precinct locations and report them to campaign headquarters.
A more recent local custom is for rank-and-file residents to report those early results to a community-wide shared online source so that these early results are available to a broader group of residents. For the Nov. 3, 2015 election, The CivCity Initiative is using a shared Google Sheet to aggregate early results. Results can be conveyed to CivCity by (1) sending an email to [email protected] or (2) sending a text message to 734.645.2633 or (3) Tweeting the results to @A2CivCity. Optional sign up in advance to ensure maximum coverage or else to provide some social support (for folks who want an "election reporting buddy" or two) will be accomplished with a shared Google Sheet.
Basic Guidelines for Collection of Results after Poll Closing
Here are some basic guidelines – worth remembering even if you’ve done this before:
- Do not intrude. Every polling place is supposed to have a blue sign designating the “Public Area.” If you arrive at the polls to pick up early results before 8 p.m., then head for the blue sign. But even after 8 p.m. the “Public Area” is a good place to stay – because it will keep you out of the way of election workers.
- Respect the election workers. An election worker’s day starts at 6 a.m. So at 8 p.m. when you’re at the polls picking up early results, they will have already logged a 14-hour day, at least. Be polite. Do what they tell you. If they ask you what you’re doing there, explain that you’re picking up early results. They have myriad tasks to complete – so don’t make gratuitous small talk with them.
- Just one tape. Accommodating the public’s desire to find out early results is reflected in just one election worker task: Printing out one public paper results tape to post at the polling place door. Don’t ask them to print out your own private tape. There will be others there collecting results – campaign volunteers and media. So you’ll have a chance to band together and collaborate. Maybe one of you will read off the results to the others, making it easier for everybody. Not cool is to grab the tape and head off to a corner where nobody else can see it until you’re done.
- Be patient. If everything goes perfectly, the tape could be printed off 10 minutes after the polls close. If not everything goes smoothly, it could be longer. Much longer. Don’t ask, “How much longer?” or “Why is it taking so long?” And don’t ask if you can help – because you can’t help. You will only make things worse. Everything that has to be done must be done by an election worker.