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A Successful Election For The Wrong Candidate

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In November of 2011, election fever was running high. Candidates were campaigning, citizens were voting, and positions were being filled. For one political hopeful however, the election was a bittersweet success.

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© Flickr user Brendan C

In Connecticut, 46-year-old James J. Butler was elected to the Board of Apportionment and Taxation by a large margin. In fact, his popularity was such that he received the most votes in the race. Unfortunately, he was not actually seeking a position. It was in fact his father, 72-year-old James R. Butler, who vied for the seat. Turns out, the ballot had a typo.

consultants discuss ballot

To say the very least, this bungle sparked quite a bit a buzz inside the political arena. The Secretary of State confirmed that this type of mistake had never occurred before. So, despite James R. Butler’s insistence that his son wanted nothing to do with the position, James J. Butler was still technically the elected official.

A spokesperson for the Secretary of the State’s Office, which oversees elections in Connecticut, said no one in the office has ever heard of an error like this ever happening. But Av Harris said the voters elected James J. Butler, and it will be up to the Democratic Town Committee to sort out the problem.

The town has a couple of options, including swearing in James J. Butler, then having him resign, and Democrats could appoint his father to replace him. The other would be to not swear in anyone, and allow the position to remain vacant.

Surely it comes as no surprise when our business process consultants say that human error exists. And despite our best efforts, avoiding mistakes such as the one above is not always guaranteed. Adding to the confusion of the situation is the fact that both men live on Prindle Avenue and both share the same birthday. It’s easy to see how the mistake was made. In fact, it’s a bit surprising that with all the candidates who’ve run for office in Connecticut there had never been another instance of an incorrect middle initial. Of course, this knowledge can in no way make up for the utter confusion, frustration, and outright disappointment that James R. Butler experienced because of this situation, but it is a lesson to us all nonetheless. No matter how simple a task may appear, never underestimate the challenges it may bring.

In many situations, the repercussions of a small spelling mistake may be nothing more than slight embarrassment or annoyance. Oftentimes, it could even go completely unnoticed. But as we have now seen, even the tiniest misstep in detail can turn into a major debacle. And that is why AccelaWork offers Workplace Diagnostics. Through this service we help clients discover workflow disruptions and countercompentencies that inhibit individuals and teams from performing their jobs effectively.

Whether errors like this are caused by broken forms, an instance of miscommunication, or simply a routine process gone bad, they can be immensely frustrating and inconvenient. Because of that, you should take great lengths to ensure that you’ve taken every step to ward off potential mistakes. Nothing is completely foolproof, but being proactive is the first step toward preventing an error such as the one that happened in this Connecticut election. Once you’re aware of how easily mistakes can happen, then you’re able to find ways to stop them before catastrophe strikes your organization.

When it comes to simple mistakes in your office, stay in the race. Take the steps necessary to achieve success rather than conceding to the problems. Contact our Indiana consultants today to learn more about how we can help.

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