Best
Practices
Guidance

IMPROVING AMERICA’S
ELECTIONS with GIS

Does America’s electoral system know where each voter resides? By and large, yes. But not nearly well enough to correctly place every voter in the right voting district and avoid election errors. Integrating GIS in elections increases election accuracy and efficiency; however, few states and other election authorities have fully geo-enabled their elections. NSGIC partnered with states and subject matter experts to develop five best practices for implementing GIS in elections.

Read the executive summary

Learn about the five best practices for geo-enabling elections and how states can benefit from integrating GIS in elections.

Best practices in detail

More detail about the five best practices, including policy and technical considerations.

Also available: the case studies that helped inform the best practices Hawaii, North Carolina, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin

Pilot studies – five states

Learnings from Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Best practices

for IMPLEMENTING GIS IN ELECTIONS

TEAM OF SPECIALISTS

VOTING UNIT GIS LAYERS

GEOCODING STRATEGY

CONTEXTUAL GIS LAYERS

DATA VALIDATION PROCESSES

Other helpful tools to get started

Need help getting the conversation started in your state? NSGIC has developed a helpful tool for that. Five Questions Election Directors Can Ask Their State GIO

Are you using HAVA funds to upgrade your elections management system? Make sure your new voter registration system is capable of using GIS – or you may lock your state into outdated list-file technology for years. Use these sample RFPs to learn how.

For more information on the state of GIS in elections across the country, please refer to these reports from the Geo-Enabled Elections project.

GEO-ENABLED ELECTIONS 2019-2021

NSGIC will complete the Geo-Elections Elections project, phase two, to coincide with the nationwide redistricting expected to follow the 2020 Census. GIS technology is particularly helpful for reducing the risk of errors when voters are re-allocated to new districts following a redrawing of district boundaries. Also, the period leading into, and immediately following redistricting is a beneficial window to increase the use of GIS in an elections system. As a result, many states can be expected to increase their use of GIS in elections during this time.

The goal of the Geo-Enabled Elections project, phase two, is to raise awareness and help prepare states to adopt GIS in elections. The project is currently selecting pilot states to participate in phase two; any state interested in participating may contact the project here.