Election Officials Are Demonstrating 6 Crisis Management Best Practices For Business Leaders

Corporate executives can learn a lot about the best practices for responding to and managing a crisis by paying close attention to the words and actions of election officials as they continue to process and count ballots from Tuesday’s election. Indeed, the pressure and scrutiny the officials are working under are similar to what business executives may have to deal with when their companies and organizations are confronted by a crisis.

Some initial crisis management lessons:

Provide Updates About The Situation

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told a televised news conference Wednesday morning that the state had counted about half of all of the mail-in ballots. She assured reporters that “We are going to accurately count every single ballot.”

Michigan

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson tweeted an update at about 7 am on Wednesday about the progress in counting the votes:. “Michigan update: Election officials worked through the night to #CountEveryVote. That work continues….Hundreds of thousands of ballots in our largest jurisdictions are still being counted, including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Warren & Sterling Heights. Every vote will count.” 

At about 9:10 a.m. that same day Benson tweeted the total results included the count of absentee ballots from Livonia and Dearborn, but counted continued in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Flint. 

North Carolina

Newsweek reported that North Carolina State Board Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said that counties will hold absentee ballot and provisional ballot counting meetings on November 12 and 13. That could mean that North Carolina election results will likely not be determined for at least eight more days, according to Newsweek.

“With very few exceptions would North Carolina’s numbers move before the 12th or 13th,” Bell said.

Nevada

As reported by CBS News, on Thursday, Joe Gloria, registrar of voters for Clark County, told reporters that the county still had to count 63,262 ballots.

Put Things In Perspective

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Boockvar told reporters that the state had received about three million mailed-in absentee ballots — about ten times more than in previous elections.

Georgia

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told a news conference there were about 200,0000 ballots that still had to be counted. As reported by the Associated Press, Ratffensperger “…later acknowledged that counties may not be able to complete the process by the end of the day, even though his office is “pushing really hard” for that.

“If we don’t get it there but we get the numbers so small that then there’s no question of who actually the winner is, I think that will be helpful,” Raffensperger said.

Tell People What You Have Done

Georgia

In his briefing for reporters, Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger said that, ”My team has sent reminders to counties to get all, let me repeat, all of our results counted today. Every legal vote will count.”

Set The Record Straight 

Arizona

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs responded to claims that ballots filled out by voters with Sharpies had been rejected by election officials. She told KTAR news that this was  “absolutely not the case.”  Hobbs noted that “Poll workers are not going to give voters pens that are going to invalidate their ballot …and  people who are voting from home use Sharpies all the time.” 

Manage Expectations

Arizona

Hobbs told KTAR News that “Nothing is official until our office signs off on the canvass at the end of November…What I’m focused on is making sure that we get it right. And that does take time.”

Nevada

As reported by the Las Vegan Sun:

  • The Nevada Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley said in a text message earlier Wednesday that the state would likely release some additional results that afternoon but said a few hours later that the state would wait until Thursday morning.
  • Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said that he did not have a number for how many ballots had been received but uncounted in the Las Vegas area. He said he would hold daily news conferences until all ballots were counted.
  • Election officials in Washoe County said Wednesday afternoon that they would not release more results until 10 am Thursday morning.

Don’t Speculate

When asked at a news conference Thursday why there were no returns from seven election precincts, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Boockvar said she did not know, but would look into it.

Stay Tuned…

The second Trump-Biden debate and the only Pence-Harris debate provided important lessons for business leaders on how to communicate during a crisis. Now that the voting is over and the counting continues, additional crisis management-related lessons are likely — courtesy of state and local election officials across the country.

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