For most Utahns, election day usually starts or ends with a 20-minute trip to the polls, where they perform their civic duty.
But not for Deseret News election editor Dave Schneider.Schneider's election day drags on into election night and doesn't end until the election morning-after, as he scrambles to get the most complete results possible out to the paper's readers.
This past election day, Schneider started at 9 a.m. Tuesday and didn't finish until 1 p.m. Wednesday - breaking for only a few hours in between when the polls closed and the first tabulations started trickling in about 11 p.m.
Schneider, a confirmed election junkie, is used to burning the election-night oil, however. Even as a youngster, he used to wait up until the wee hours of the morning to follow the results. He says nothing's really changed, except now it's more work.
Schneider and the paper's political editor, Bob Bernick Jr., make up the Deseret News' one-two election-night punch. Bernick oversees reporting of the major races, while Schneider makes sure the material finds its way to the printed page in an organized and readable fashion.
Even when elections are over, however, Schneider remains a very important person around the Deseret News. That's because he's also in charge of scheduling, which means he can ruin your vacation plans faster than a swarm of quarter-sized mosquitoes a pint low. Needless to say, the staff treats Schneider with a good deal of deference - at least until vacation requests are all approved.
Schneider's meticulous attention to detail is legend around the office. He admits he's willing to invest hours balancing a checkbook that's a few cents out of whack.
So fellow staffers will probably find it hard to believe that Schneider doesn't know what color his neighbors' houses are, and also confesses to keeping a personal desk at home that resembles a county landfill.
When he isn't tracking down election results, Schneider's year-round job title is that of state editor for the paper. In that capacity, he rides herd on 20 part-time correspondents who keep readers posted on news from across the state, from St. George to Moab to Tremonton.
Schneider said of all his many duties at the paper, the one he enjoys most is his yearly sojourn to Southern Utah for one-on-one meetings with the correspondents.
For one thing, it's taught him some practical lessons in Utah geography.
"Did you know there's no good way to get from St. George to Blanding?" Schneider asked rhetorically. "You can go via Capital Reef, which is a nice drive, but out of the way; or you can go by way of Kayenta, Ariz., which is a lousy drive and out of the way too."
"Then, of course, there's the Burr Trail, which isn't paved," Schneider said. "It would be a whole lot nicer driving if it were paved, but then maybe not as beautiful because of more traffic . . . ."
The election isn't even a week old, and he's already talking politics again.