NSGIC’s Geo-Enabled Election project helps place right voter in THE right voting district

The Geo-Enabled Elections project was created to strengthen the accuracy and reliability of America’s electoral system and to increase voters’ confidence that their voices are being heard in each election.

The project’s goal is to assist states and other election authorities in implementing GIS technology in elections in order to ensure that voters are placed in the right voting district, receive the right ballot, and vote in the right electoral contests. Increasingly, errors in voter placement have undermined the reliability of election results, and may have hurt voter confidence.

GIS technology aids in the process of ensuring that each voter is placed in the correct and exact location, and therefore is placed into the right voting district. Instead of relying on cumbersome voter lists and verbal definitions of voting districts, GIS technology allows election officials to view voters as pinpoints on a map, and voting district boundaries as geometrical shapes that surround those pinpoints. The verification that voters have, in fact, been placed into the right voting district becomes much easier, as does quality control – both as part of a periodic review, and after major changes, such as the modification of voting district boundaries.

Many states already use GIS technology for other matters, such as emergency response systems, land use, or utility management, and often have a Geographic Information Officer (GIO) within state government. Part of the Geo-Enabled Elections project’s mission is to promote a stronger dialogue between GIOs and Election Directors in state government.

The first phase of the Geo-Enabled Elections project runs from October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2019. Prior to this project, there had been no organized effort to gather the experiences of states that had implemented GIS in elections in order to develop and promote best practices. After the conclusion of a number of pilot projects and case studies, the final output of the project will be a set of best practices that states can use in order to successfully implement GIS data to ensure more efficient and accurate elections.

Recent project milestones

  • NSGIC Releases First-Year Report for Geo-Enabled Elections Project, Including First Draft of Best Practices for Implementing GIS in Elections
    GeoJava December 17, 2018
  • NSGIC State Representatives Share How Elections Systems Work in Their States
    GeoJava July 12th
  • Midyear Meeting Takeaways for the Geo-Enabled Elections Project
    GeoJava March 2018
  • Geo-Enabled Election Project Gathers Momentum
    GeoJava January 23 2018

Steering group, circle of advisors and project manager

A steering group of state GIS leaders helps guide the project:

Bert Granberg, Chair – Director of Analytics, Modeling, and Data Services, Wasatch Front Regional Council

Erin Fashoway, GIS Coordinator, State of Montana

Ekaterina Fitos, Geospatial Information Officer, State of Florida

Shelby Johnson, Geographic Information Officer, State of Arkansas

Neil MacGaffey, Director of Mass GIS, Executive Office of Technology and Security Services

Ken Nelson, Geospatial Information Officer, State of Kansas

Dan Ross, Chief Geographic Information Officer, State of Minnesota

Josh Tanner, GIS Analyst/Web Administrator, State of Oregon

A circle of advisors provide the project with specialized expertise from their respective fields related to elections:

Kimball Brace, Election Data Services

Veronica Degraffenreid, North Carolina Elections Operations

John Dziurlaj, Hilton Roscoe

Royce Jones, GDSI

Michael McDonald, University of Florida

Jennifer Morrell, Consultant

Tammy Patrick, Democracy Fund Voice

Paul Stenbjorn, Election Information Services

Sarah Whitt, Wisconsin Elections Commission


Project Manager
Jamie Chesser (NSGIC) jamie.chesser@nsgic.org

Support

The first phase of the Geo-Enabled Elections project, through September 2019, is partly funded by the bipartisan Democracy Fund Voice. NSGIC gratefully acknowledges project underwriting by the Democracy Fund Voice.

About NSGIC

NSGIC (pronounced NISS-gyck), or the National States Geographic Information Council, is a state-led organization for developing, exchanging, and endorsing geospatial technology and policy best practices. Its Geo-Enabled Elections project focuses specifically on the use of geospatial information in elections, and is partly funded by the bipartisan Democracy Fund Voice. That project runs for two years, with a final report and best practices expected in September 2019. Read more about NSGIC here.