North Carolina had its sights set on audits – and on serving its 100 county boards of elections – when it started leveraging GIS in elections several years ago. Fast-forward to today and the State Board of Elections offers several audit tools and even sends a weekly audit reminder by email to all counties, identifying potentially miss-districted voters.
To create this powerful audit system, the state used GIS data, address points and district boundaries, from several sources, including North Carolina’s state legislative body, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the North Carolina Geodetic Survey. The State Board of Elections now possesses a statewide address point database.
While each county board of elections still relies on street ranges to assign voters to the right districts, counties are now less at risk of having districting errors thanks to the State Board’s address point database and audit tools.
Along the way, the State Board of Elections has garnered some helpful learnings, primarily around partnerships and data. Partnering with other offices and agencies proved critical to assembling a robust address point database. Also, the collaboration between election officials and GIS experts, both on a county and state level, was crucial.
What’s next for North Carolina? Moving to a system that uses geopoints, exclusively, instead of street ranges is high on the agenda. In addition, the state is creating a statewide database of valid addresses and using a third-party vendor’s system to identify the address points of all those valid addresses, as well as standardizing addresses in the state.