Is the Voting Process Worth the Trouble?

November 4th was voting day for midterm elections. Unfortunate problems occurred on Tuesday in Illinois, especially in Chicago. These problems ranged from inoperable voting machines, missing ballot pages, closed polling stations, and missing judges. I don’t claim to know much about the voting process, but evidently judges need to be present at all polling stations, and many stations on Tuesday did not have judges present, so some polling stations had to delay voting for as much as 3 hours until the judges arrived. These problems caused reportedly hundreds of people to leave polling stations to go home. Illinois governor candidates Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner preached the importance of getting out and going to vote. There were already concerns that not enough people get out and vote, so these problems aren’t going to help matters. I’m wondering if there is a more effective way for the voting process to work.

Being born and raised in Illinois, I am fairly familiar with the vibe Election Day gives off here. My mom always dragged me and my siblings to the polling stations with her after school so she could go and vote. Even as a kid, I despised going with her so she can vote. Even as a child, I realized that polling stations are a complete mess and a headache. Assuming everything runs smoothly, voting is still a lengthy and stressful process. Add in the unpredictable problems like in this year’s Election Day, and the excuses people use for not voting pile up.

Yes, some people take advantage of early mail-in voting. But being realistic, most people aren’t going to do that. Voting should be encouraged everywhere, but to do that the process itself needs to avoid being overwhelmingly stressful to potential voters. Aside from the actual Election Day, many complain that they don’t know where to go or how to register to vote. I know these answers can be found if you look hard enough, but for the majority of Americans, these problems and concerns are relatable and reasonable. I am not sure if this is a state concern or national concern, but everything about the voting process should be less complicating and stressful.

Missouri took initiative this year and did their best to make Election Day run as smooth as possible. At many polling stations, they had 2 buildings at polling stations operate as opposed to 1, to allow quicker and smoother voting. Many other states implemented small and minor changes as well. However, the overall process, especially in Illinois, seems to be lacking organizational structure and order.

What changes, if any, do you think should be implemented to the voting process? Or do you like the way things operate as is?

Is Inventory TOO Important?

After reading different blog posts and learning from the class, clearly inventory is valuable. How valuable probably depends on a company by company basis. However from my previous job experience, I found that maybe too much value was put on inventory. The past couple of summers I worked at Follett School Solutions, in the warehouse. Follett is basically a textbook distributor. We don’t make any books, we just buy and resell. Part of the job is finding the books in the large warehouse. After the books on the order are found, they are passed on to the next line of people (packers), who clean and pack the books. Finding and collecting books, especially a large order, can take a long time. After cleaning, packing and counting the books, often times the packer will realize that they are short some books. Once they realize this, they bring the books over to a different group of people (inventory auditors), who then look in the warehouse to get more books to fulfill the shorted order. Sometimes they don’t have the books on hand (in the warehouse) to complete the order. This is where I take issue with my company.

I’ll give a common example of a situation like this. Let’s say a school orders a variety of 300 textbooks in September that need to be shipped as soon as possible, since school has already begun. The packer sees that they only have 299 books, and they are short 1. They bring the order over to the inventory auditor, who then recounts to make sure, and then looks in the warehouse to find that 1 extra book. More times than not, the inventory auditor will come back empty in their search to find the missing book. Personally, I would ship out the 299 books on hand and then ship the 1 extra book as soon as I could. However, Follett does not do this. Follett will order 1 book from the textbook maker, and wait for the book to arrive, and just push the 299 books to the side. This could take 2 or 3 days and sometimes longer if the textbook company does not have a book on hand themselves. Meanwhile, the school that ordered these books is in session, and can’t begin teaching the subject since they don’t have the proper materials on hand. Ask any teacher how 2, 3, or 4 lost days can destroy a lesson plan. Yes, the school shouldn’t have waited so long to order the books, but still, Follett only makes matters worse by not shipping out a large order that needs to be sent ‘ASAP’.

In my opinion, it’s not a big deal to just ship out 299 and then wait however long for the 300th book to arrive.  I am not sure what these schools do while they wait for their books to arrive. In my opinion, the goal should be to get the books to the customer ASAP. Inventory is important, but jeopardizing and delaying orders because of being 1 short in inventory seems ludicrous to me.

Am I crazy? Or does this not make sense to you either?