This NASCOE County Office Advocacy Committee (COAC) Committee update provides membership with brief, but important updates and reminders concerning COC elections, ballot counting and COC involvement with the National Association of Farmer Elected Committees (NAFEC).
We understand this is a busy time and we are all preparing for COC elections and ballot counting during unprecedented times. This is certainly no easy task. Moving forward, county offices will bring new COC members on in January. As always, informing and educating our new and old COC members about NAFEC is important. NAFEC is the employee association for County Committee members. NAFEC represents committee members just like NASCOE represents county office employees. As a reminder, NAFEC handles numerous issues for not only County Committees, but also County Office Employees across the nation.
Recently, NAFEC has stressed the importance of conducting ballot counting in a safe manner, while also following the processes outlined in statue, regulation, and handbook policy. The attached letter from NAFEC, is a great example of what NAFEC is doing for COC members, while highlighting their concerns, as we prepare for COC elections and ballot counting in the coming days. Please continue to look for future bulletins concerning NAFEC and other information prior to January Organizational Meetings. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to the NASCOE County Office Advocacy Committee by emailing .
ISSUE: COC Elections Applications for deceased producers
FACTS: When the report of producers not associated with an LAA was generated it came to our attention that several of those producers were deceased. When you try to mark deceased in the Producer Election Data file it forces you to put them in an LAA. In the past this wasn’t a requirement.
SOLUTIONS: There is no need to put them in an LAA if they are deceased. Please remove that requirement from the software if possible.
NATIONAL OFFICE RESPONSE: COC software is old and has not had any outward facing work done due to budgetary constraints. It was hoped that enhancements would be worked into a MIDAS release in BP but this will not be happening. We have, however, completed some “backdoor” work to the software that was within the budget that we feel was beneficial to the field. With these enhancements hopefully COFs will have less phone calls from disgruntled producers and fewer returned ballots with the software taking out inactive producers and deceased producers.
New Enhancements to COC Election Software
The Election software will now check the deceased flag in SCIMS and the name will automatically be dropped from the Eligible voter list without employee action.
A new extract option has been added to help with LAA mailings if needed since we no longer have queries from the System 36. NEW as of 7/11/16 we have added race, gender and ethnicity to this report.
From COC Election home page select “County Election Reports”
Select Eligible Voter Mailing List and the COC and LAA you need the report for
Select “Extract Addresses to CSV”
A CSV file will open and a message will appear at the bottom of the screen. Select “Save As” and save it to a place to retrieve the file later
Open a blank Excel document and select the “Data” tab and then “From Text” and find the file you saved from the previous step
Select the following outlined boxes to complete the import to Excel
The report is now in a workable type format in Excel for mail merge, printing labels, etc.
Note: Remember producer addresses, race, gender, and ethnicity are PII and this report should only be used internally.
ISSUE: COC elections and voter eligibility is becoming an increasingly more area of focus for FSA. Eligibility and elections are important to how FSA operates.
FACTS: Currently, when producers are added into BP, the COF user must also access COC Elections software to update their voting eligibility and LAA flags. Essentially this means doing the process twice.
Likewise, when a producer now longer is eligible to vote or deceased, elections software must be access separately from BP to remove voting eligibility flags.
SOLUTION: Incorporate an Elections tab into BP with the required fields of LAA and voter eligibility flags. This should flow (behind the scenes) into COC Elections software, removing the requirement for a 2 software process to properly add customers.
Once a date of death is confirmed in MIDAS it would also remove the eligible flag in BP and flow over to the COC Elections software.
NATIONAL CHAIR COMMENTS: Incorporating the COC Election software into MIDAS has been suggested previously. While WDC has indicated the removal of the COC Election Software entirely is unlikely in the near future, perhaps some of the fields could be automated/synced with MIDAS.
NATIONAL OFFICE RESPONSE: This is on our list of future enhancements and will be prioritized along with all of the other enhancement requests.