Geo-Enabled Election Project Gathers Momentum

By Jamie Chesser  |  January 23, 2018

When I joined the NSGIC staff a month ago as the geospatial programs manager, I learned very quickly that NSGIC is all about collaboration. This was great news to me because my focus in the next two years will be on the Geo-Enhanced Elections project, and it’s going to require a lot of collaboration!

GIS is relatively new to state elections implementations, though we are aware of several successful state implementations. When complete, a full GIS integration with a state election management system creates a map-based model of all the geographic features that interact in the election process and its results: district, precinct and ballot area boundaries; voter residence locations; polling places and drop-off locations; and address-based presentation of elected officials. The GIS digital model can significantly enhance accuracy, transparency, and efficiency of our representative government.

The Geo-Enabled Elections project fits within NSGIC’s “sweet spot” of working together to advance valuable state GIS capabilities through coordination, collaboration, communication and subject matter expertise support.

We know digital geographic representation of precinct (and sub-precinct) boundaries within a GIS allow for transparency and ease of use for voters, candidates and electoral management. It also enables the optimal siting of polling places with respect to both voter access and the cost efficiency of operating polls. GIS also provides a platform for automated quality control processes that ensure accurate voter precinct assignments.

Steering Group and Circle of Advisors

The steering group, chaired by Bert Granberg, is gelling. This group will meet regularly through the end of this two-year project, including in-person meetings in conjunction with NSGIC conferences. This group will explore state implementations of GIS-based elections systems, support the pilot program, develop content for a best practices guide and “summit” event next year.

We’re also establishing a group we’re calling the circle of advisors. We’ll look to members of this group to represent the interests and expertise of a variety of stakeholders.

If you’re interested in joining the steering group or circle of advisors - or have a suggestion for someone we should consider including - please let me know.

Workshops at Midyear Meeting

The project steering group will meet in person for the first time in Salt Lake City for two workshop sessions before NSGIC’s Midyear Meeting at the end of February. The second workshop - held on Monday morning - is open to all Midyear Meeting participants. Let me know if you’ll be there so we can save you a seat. (My contact info is below.)

Learn More and Get Involved

Read more on the project page.

Join the conversation in the discussion forum.

Email me at [email protected].

Special Thanks

This project is primarily underwritten by the Democracy Fund Voice, a nonpartisan organization that conducts and supports advocacy to produce a stronger, healthier democracy. Other organizations and companies interested in supporting this project can contact me for more information.