On March 19, the first group of pilot states within the Geo-Enabled Elections project, phase two, kick off their work. In fact, four states and one California county will take part in the pilot program this time, each with a diverse slate of learning objectives.
Arkansas, Montana, Michigan, and Oregon, as well as Shasta County in California, are joining the ranks of recruits, representing both geographic spread and different approaches to voting, and therefore, to integrating GIS in elections.
“I’m delighted to have this multifaceted group take advantage of the opportunity to elevate their use of GIS in elections as part of the project,” says Jamie Chesser, Project Manager. “Each state will be working on different focus areas that all ladder up to ensuring that every voter receives the right ballot and has the opportunity to vote in the right contests. In addition, we are joined by Shasta County from California, a state that practices “bottom-up” voter management, meaning that counties are responsible for all voter lists, which are then rolled-up at the state level. This will allow us to glean learnings that could be used elsewhere in California, and possibly also in Florida, another bottom-up state,” adds Chesser.
Each state sets its own goals and learning agenda for the pilot project. At least one group of participants will be taking advantage of a new audit tool, which serves to test if voters have been assigned to the right voting district, based on the physical location of their residences.
The official pilot project kick-off is March 19, with project work taking place over a period of six months.
Another class of pilot projects is expected towards the end of 2020. Any state interested in participating at that time, and benefitting from the focus and support that these projects bring, is encouraged to contact the project here.
The inaugural round of pilot projects was completed in July 2019, with learnings forming a critical part of the first-ever Best Practice Guidance, Improving America’s Elections with GIS, available for download here. Learnings from each past pilot project can also be found in the same location.