Five Questions Election Directors
can ask their State GIO

Many states already use geographic information systems (GIS) for emergency response systems or for land use purposes – but not for elections. It might seem intuitive that elections could be improved through the use of GIS technology; voters’ locations would be pinpointed on a map, with voting unit boundaries also shown on the map. The opportunity for voters to mistakenly be placed in the wrong voting unit would be reduced, and errors would be easier to spot. But how does a state get started on implementing GIS in elections?

Beginning the dialogue

In a 2019 NSGIC report, five out of six state Election Directors stated that they know about GIS and have access to a GIS expert. However, fewer than a third of Election Directors could confirm that they have a voter registration system that supports geospatial information and objects.

NSGIC’s Geo-Enabled Elections project seeks to promote a stronger dialogue between Geographic Information Officers (GIOs) and Election Directors. Their relationship is a key component of the successful integration of GIS with a state’s election data management system. The GIO can craft a plan that ensures the best outcomes, is sustainable and scalable, and allows for efficient implementation, given a realistic pool of resources.