×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Obama’s Attempt to Reduce Election Day Poll Lines Gets a Dose of Disney

How about a Fastpass for polling places?

On election night last year, a victorious President Obama vowed to do something about the six- and seven- hour waits that some voters had at the polls. Last month, he announced the members of a new Commission on Election Administration, tasked with streamlining the process. On Friday, the commission held its first public meeting in Washington, which not only set out its agenda but perhaps gave a glimpse of what input some of its members will be giving.

Among the members of the commission is Brian Britton, vice president of global park operations and planning at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and based in Florida. He didn’t say much at the meeting, but in introducing himself, he said, “We know a thing or two about lines down there.”

“I just want to say I am extremely proud to serve,” he added.

Britton didn’t immediately return a request for comment; nor did an official with the commission.

Disney’s resorts have deployed new techniques to reduce waits, with the introduction of the Fastpass virtual queing system in 1999. It has allowed guests to shave substantial time off their waits, as they essentially make reservations to show up at a ride at a certain time and then have a much shortened wait.

The commission is just getting its start, so it is a little early to say whether theme park techniques are in store at the ballot box.

And it also should be noted that Britton hails from a state that has been ground zero for problems at the polls, from last year’s marathon waits to the infamous 2000 hanging chads that led to a showdown in the Supreme Court.

The 10-member commission, headed by well-known D.C. attorneys Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsburg, is tasked with coming up with a list of recommendations and presenting them to the president within the next six months. They plan to hold a series of public hearings on improving the voter experience, starting with one at the University of Miami in Coral Cables, Fla. on June 28.

Britton, a former Navy aviator, joined Disney in 1999, having previously served as vice president of labor operations, operations strategy and operations support at the Walt Disney World Co. He also is a board member with Community Based Care of Central Florida, which helps foster care kids.

Other industries have studied Disney’s efforts at crowd control, as well as the entire theme park visitor experience. The fact that one of its executives is on the commission is also not so unusual given the ties the company has to the White House. Robert Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Co., was named to the President’s Export Council in 2010, and has been a prolific donor to Obama’s campaign and those of other Democrats. He was among those present when Obama appeared at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee earlier this month at the home of Peter Chernin.

More Biz

  • Def Jam Logo

    Layoffs at Def Jam Records

    Def Jam Records laid off several employees this week, including executive VP of brand strategy and content Noah Callahan-Bever and OJ Lima, senior VP in that department, a source close to the situation has confirmed to Variety. A total of seven employees let go, a number that includes regional promotion staffers not based in New [...]

  • The Story of Erroll Garner, the First

    The True Story of Erroll Garner, the First Artist to Sue a Major Label and Win

    It’s not at all unusual for artists to engage in creative or financial differences with their record labels, but only a few end up in court. Last year, Kanye West sued his label, Universal, and publisher, EMI, claiming that his deals amounted to “servitude” (the EMI suit was settled in September), echoing Prince’s famous battle [...]

  • Peter Gray

    Columbia Records Names Peter Gray Executive VP/ Head of Promotion

    Peter Gray, who stepped down as Warner Bros. Records’ executive VP/GM and head of radio promotion last year, is joining Columbia Records as the label’s EVP and head of promotion, sources tell Variety. He fills the role vacated by Lee Leipsner, who left the company in March. Gray’s appointment is the latest in a series [...]

  • U2, Seattle 14 May 2017

    U2 Drop New Song, ‘Ahimsa,’ Ahead of First Concert in India

    After a flurry of rumors on Thursday, U2 dropped their first single in two years: “Ahimsa,” a collaboration with Oscar- and Grammy-winning Indian musician AR Rahman, ahead of the group’s first-ever visit to the country next month. Rahman has a vast track record of film soundtracks and is best known for his work on the [...]

  • Sean "Diddy" Combs Revolt TV

    Sean Combs Slams 'Illusion of Economic Inclusion' at Comcast Amid Byron Allen Fight

    Sean Combs has come out swinging against Comcast in a lengthy statement prompted by the cable giant’s legal battle with Entertainment Studios chief Byron Allen. Combs accused Comcast of maintaining “the illusion of economic inclusion” in its handling of a carriage agreement with Combs’ Revolt TV channel. Combs was critical of Comcast for failing to [...]

  • Bon Iver Justin Vernon Grammys

    Bon Iver, Tanya Tucker, Thom Yorke Lead Indie Labels to 44% of Grammy Nominations

    Ever since Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” won Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammy Awards, independent labels have seen their star rise on “Music’s Biggest Night,” and that looks set to continue at the 2020 ceremony, where Bon Iver, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Yola, Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard, Elvis Costello and others have gotten big [...]

  • US Capitol

    Congress Introduces AM-FM Act to Revise Copyright Law for Terrestrial Radio

    Senator Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Jerrold Nadler today introduced the Ask Musicians for Music Act (AM-FM), which aims to revise existing copyright law for radio stations and musicians. Under the current copyright system, radio stations can use sound recordings over their airwaves without paying royalties to creators who own a stake in the sound recordings. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content